when your head hurts when there is so much chaos inside that it blanks out all rational thinking random thoughts swirl around battering my brain cells like a raging storm I try to follow one thought but it diverges into a torrent flowing a different direction another thought and another small streams all diverging into a raging river of pain
pain from so many sources heavy weightedness my head aches with weariness my body drags with an unexplainable lethargy I don’t know how to find the beginning let alone the end too many beginnings they just add and add and add so much more pain and grief to the weightedness I am feeling
a random person sees my pained being delivers a hug causing my eyes leak with tears but still holding back the rivers that want to flow because those nearest cannot see what is inside of me and I am scared than if they do it will horrify them because it terrifies me
I try to grasp at one to decipher where it came from but my brain sees another and runs to that then to another until my head is so full
my hands try to hold my brain the explosions of pain darkness weariness sadness
how can I describe the darkness within when I cannot find the beginning to begin
I spent the end of March and the first two days of April participating in a Living Fully Creative Therapy Group 3.25 very intense days It was a ‘retreat’ for sexual abuse survivors. I was fortunate to be put forward for funding to attend. It was with much trepidation that I agreed. I didn’t know what to expect so went with no expectations. I deliberately booked myself into a motel nearby as I knew that I would not cope with the travel too and fro after such intensive days. That was a self care move and a good one I was right. I needed space for me each night.
We were a small group of victims in varying stages of healing. It was challenging, disturbing, distressing, amazing, painful and wonderful all at the same time. To be able to freely communicate and be heard & believed and supported in such a safe way was actually incredible.
I’ve never experienced psychodrama or group therapy before It was certainly very interesting, challenging and emotionally draining. Actively participating in the dramas was definitely not something I was comfortable to do I preferred the role of witness and giving feedback This was an important part of the proceedings The art therapy portions were certainly more my thing There just wasn’t enough of them for me
What did I take from my time there?
Firstly – I learned that I can participate, or not, at whatever level I am comfortable with and saying no is very ok. And I was commended for doing so.
Secondly – I learned that I can hold my own space. That I’m important and have as much right as anyone else to hold space. That I’m not taking from anyone else. And that in owning my space I’m also giving to others.
Thirdly – I learned that I was believed. At all times. I was supported and held in the safest place I’ve ever been in. In the past when I have tried talking openly I’ve been shutdown & silenced. That is revictimisation and I will no longer allow myself to be a victim of that.
Fourthly – I have never read my work aloud to anyone before. I usually write & run. But this time they wanted my words. They asked me to read to them. Their responses were more than could’ve imagined. So much empathy, compassion, & identifying. I felt validated. As a writer. As an artist. As a woman.
For the past few days my mind has been a mash up of blank emotions Feeling with others Identifying with parts of their stories But not knowing how to process my own Because it just feels too huge Too complicated Where do I start my PTSD, my ball of string, has so many pieces rolled into it some are long, very very very long and others are short, abrupt, moments with many varying lengths between
This morning Russell Brand challenged me loud and clear He pushed me up off of my pillows and said Start writing!
My father He was my main fuck up He fucked me up so fucking good He spent my entire childhood ensuring I was totally fucked up And he did such a good job of it Incest is the most confusing type of sexual abuse anyone can endure No violence involved Just so called love and enjoyment It turns my stomach to recall how much he made me enjoy what he did to me For over 10 years That is a total screw up in anyones brain I bury those memories so deep But this morning they are surfacing And I am SO FUCKING ANGRY He stole so much from me The pleasure of actually knowing when I lost my virginity Or the ability to give consent and give myself to who I wanted The never knowing when, because it is blurred into obscurity The not knowing how to guide my own children My children – OMG don’t get me started on that He locked my emotions up so fucking much I didn’t know how to parent or communicate with me own children I so fucked up my own children
That day we were going to visit our friends the day our landrover rolled off the road and down the bank the day the one man I trusted let me down for the first time that one error of judgement set triggers alight that haunt me decades later fears that seem now to be irrational but are so fucking real fear of falling fear of losing my children fear of confined spaces fear of losing control fears, irrational and uncontrollable fears…
Home from the hospital an innocent comment A curious question Allowed us to discover our precious daughter had been abused whilst we were away she was in the care of someone we trusted but still a fucked up deviant who managed to get to my precious little girl So Fucking Up and So Fucking Angry
A month later pregnant with very unplanned baby No4 after pelvic injuries, broken left ankle, sprained right knee and weeks on crutches after a month of painkillers after a month of vomiting then bleeding a bucket full of bleeding nearly died getting to the hospital I lost my baby
Abused by a hospital doctor another man I should’ve been able to trust my husband’s ignorance/innocence in female medical stuff allowed it to happen Nurses enveloped me allowed me to cry helped me understand what he did to me was wrong a week later re-admittance a repeat proceedure re-traumatisation
Finally home Fucked up again No you can’t grieve your baby You gotta praise God Cuz you gotta accept its all part of his plan So no tears No sadness Let’s just praise God and carry on living So Fucked Up
Baby No5 Perfectly normal pregnancy Horrendous delivery Hospital trauma Stirrups Huge needle in my spine during stage 2 Total evacuation of my uterus Post birth – you need to get out of bed Migraine to the max Oops – another medical fuckup More needles in my spine “oh you have a wee boy after 3 girls. How lovely” No fucking way do I want this kid! I am in so much pain and you expect me to love this baby 10 days to finally hold and begin to love my boy Such a Fuck Up
Baby No7 7 years later My friends enveloped me Finally I was allowed to grieve But along the way pieces of trauma varying degrees of severity adding up relationships family dramas accidents business issues so many traumas and falls, so many falls culminating in years and years of body pain But swept aside as just another thing to deal with I kept busy, keeping busy Running the farm Doing all the bookwork Raising & educating my 10 living children Feeding the myriads that surrounded our family table each day Encapsulating extreme busyness! I was really, really good at keeping busy
Unknowingly My stress bucket was filling then one evening one small thing was said But it was magnificent & breathtaking in its delivery and its magnificence overflowed my bucket And I broke An emotional breakdown that completely unhinged me Threw me off of my rotation And spin me out of my carefully controlled busyness It totally bewildered my husband It completely blindsided me But actually I wasn’t shocked I had been quietly screaming for help since I was a small child
That Fuck Up led me on my course of discovery and healing And I am so fucking grateful I began then
Because the 2nd biggest Fuck Up of my life happened two years later
On the 17th February 2013 see! this time I remember all everything each detail of that day is marked with such clarity
My husband, My Timmy The man who had loved me since I was 14 years old The man who saved me and cherished me The man I loved so much left for town and he never came home He was killed Instantly only 20mins from our home when his vehicle left the road and rolled 200m down the hillside
The trauma from that moment has overshadowed almost every other trauma in my life I was so Fucked Up and Fucked Over by the police, victim support etc The people that are supposed to be there for you What a massive Fucked Up! the spiral rippling effect this one event has had on myself my children our extended family is beyond belief I cannot even write this without crying I can talk about my abuse I can get angry, feel sad, etc But I can’t cry But for this my heart cries It is like a bottomless well of tears that will never stop They are always there No matter how happy my life is or how content I am in the moment This trauma has fucked me up like no other
Leaving our home of over 40 years Packing up after 4 generations that was traumatic in itself The splintering of our family The inability of my children to process and support each other as they each reeled in their own pain We have been so Fucked Up
Moving to the city Creating new life and new friends exciting but So hard I got a job A dream job Working with Sexual Abuse victims I So Loved my job Until I was Fucked Over once again by the person who was supposed to support us and be there for us Our Team Manager After a particular horrendous call out The worst any of us had ever experienced Instead of support and care I was Traumatised Victimised Stung big time by a scorpion Put over a barrel – had to leave Fucked Up Again
And in amongst my story there are my children My children all have their own stories I have permission to tell some but now is not that place Their stories require their own spaces Their stories are interwoven with mine through it all We have become stronger Still Fucked Up But So Much Fuckin Stronger
I’ve never done the group thing before It’s pretty damn scary they say we are in a safe place but any time vulnerabilities are released or revealed it doesn’t feel safe it’s hard to feel safe
they say it’s safe here to speak out to tell our stories but hearing others stories silences my own I don’t want my story to overshadow theirs My story is mine and right now it feels like if I speak I am taking from their spaces
I feel conflicted I am not used to just sitting listening watching someone share their pain shed their tears and do nothing except sit in silent agreement I want to go to them to surround them in a heart sharing, heart supporting, hug but we just sit and allow them space to share and to shed to be heard to be seen and to grow
When it is time then maybe just maybe I will allow myself the space to tell my story it just feels too big of a story though it feels like it will take up too much space that I take up too much space that my whole story is actually just too huge Maybe I should write a Readers Digest version it might be easier for others to digest but then I would feel cheated because I too need space to share to be heard to be seen and to grow
be it with our voice or our hands we learn to speak encouraged to express our needs and wants positive or negative
but we also are learned to not communicate by the traumas we endure by the dangers of response
we are learned in skills of self preservation an innocent word triggering an abuser triggering a bully triggering the anger of another
causing violent reaction a chain reaction learning in us over years of trauma to self protect
we shut down we… shut… down…..
moving forward into adulthood damaged goods fight flight fright concreted into our damaged psyche cautious trusts so easily destroyed our fragility protected by a thin crust of bravado our lives spent walking on eggshells
the exhausting daily trials to appear normal to fit in to be more than to compensate for the imbedded feelings of worthlessness to show that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me yeah right
and then words innocently said body language misinterpreted precipitously triggering violent responses from others loved ones those we trusted
like blunt force trauma to the brain like a knee into the gut with excruciating heart-rending pain leaving us reeling winded wounded revictimised retraumatised wondering where did we go wrong again
not understanding that their triggers are not your triggers their pain like yours is causing them to react is causing a vicious spiral of damaged communication and damaged communicators
Facing unknowns Unsure of what I’m entering into Scares me shitless Fighting the triggers and alarm bells reverberating through my deep core Trying to block them out Going through the motions Appearing to be in control Appearances deceptively creating angst
So fucking exhausting
Filling out forms Trying to fit myself into boxes Am I a tick or a cross Why can’t I just be me Why do I have to evaluate, clarify, caterogize, or define myself to be squeezed into boxes of mediocrity You can have my name and address but even those are questionable some days Let me walk in Unwrap me then, if you can cuz I sure as hell can’t most days
So fucking exhausting
Answering cold calls Arrggggg Why did I respond Trigger alert Stress bucket explosion Meltdown Anger – at them, or is it at myself not their fault they don’t know what’s happening at my end of the line Tears Wild out of control emotional Wipeout Damn you trauma brain
So fucking exhausting
just one day in the life of a trauma victim/survivor
It has been just a year – a year like no other We were a fighting force gathered together like a group of raggle taggle gypsies strangers with a common cause We drove together from the south and the north Creating friendships Forming bonds Celebrating life with those who understood Talking freely Rejoicing in the energy surrounding us Fighting for freedoms freedoms lost freedoms stolen not just our freedoms – everyones Fighting for those blinded those hypnotised those scared those compliant
The toll this year has taken is indescribable The abuse The silencing The rollercoasters of energies emotional physical spiritual Exhaustion Exhausted Drained Heartbroken Numbness
Looking into this new year wanting to feel positive But knowing what’s been… Venturing in toe testing the waters Feeling apprehensive scared wary weary
But overall clutching Hope grasping Courage preparing each day to be Brave