Train wrecked

When life is trucking along
you are hit by small triggers spasmodically but you just stop briefly and deal with them as they bump you
then you’re back on course again
till the next wee one
They feel big
But in actuality they’re just potholes that reduce your speed momentarily

But when out of left field
a huge train mows you down
you don’t have time to run for cover
It unleashes all the demons that you’ve managed to keep locked in your basement for the past years

It
sucker punches
gut punches
derails you

all the tips and techniques you’ve learnt
all the therapies
all the breathing
everything just flies out the window

Those demons start playing havoc in your head
reigniting memories
exhausting you with all the ‘whatifs’
all the ‘whys’

Taking me down trails I don’t want to go
the overgrown tracks I have been consciously avoiding
shutting out
closing my mind to
No!!
I don’t want to go there again
No more
Stop!!!

The anger
the grief
the absolute sadness
and the feelings of betrayal

The betrayal is the worst
all these years and they knew
but they stayed silent

The betrayal….

planetary flows

tides ebb and flow
planets come and go
mercury retrogrades
moons collide
solar flares
lunar eclipses
natures mysteries abound


growing through conservative christianity
taught everything outside was evil
don’t do this
don’t touch that
you’ll allow the devil his hold

wakening now
realising
that I am part of this awesome universe
created by God
and in the being part of
I am feeling part of
so the ebbs and flows
effect my very core

being the very practical being I am
sceptical of things unknown
things unseen that I cannot prove
yet now
I am feeling
and recognising the ebbs & flows
that are affecting my essential self

my life is my long journey
and yet in the aeons of time
it is but a brief blink
connected to the universe of which I am just a tiny speck
I am but a pin prick
feeling such insignificance
how and why does the universe care enough about me
to include me in its ebbs & flows

I am but sand on the shore
a drop of water within the seas
but my life has relevance
and meaning
I must hold some importance
otherwise why am I here

growing up through the Age of Aquarius
it was but a mere song
a hippie chick sang
living on the fringes of churchism
feeling frowned upon for even thinking the lyrics
but on delving in
I see its relevance during my lifetime

apparently though
I have the energy of Sun in conjunct with Pluto
a rare thing indeed
my presence on this planet is to do what I am doing
I am not just a mere speck
I am burning, cleaning, clearing the way
facing the darkside
constantly transforming
articulating
communicating to others

by opening up my heart
allowing the blood of my traumas to flow
releasing the pain and reality of my damaged soul
I am letting the sunshine in
to the hearts of others
as they resonate with my words
no matter the darkness they hold
or the life they bring

sharing gives strength
breaking darkness to let the light in
releasing energy
breaking tensions
allowing the ebb & flow of my life
to encourage others
that is my reason for living

Living Fully Creative Therapy

My journal page during the weekend
quote Ann Voskamp

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.

An initial 20min exercise at my Living Fully Workshop.
The colours portray different areas of my life, the brown are the shadows that people can’t & don’t want to see

Day 2 of my Living Fully Workshop. 20min Art expression session
Words which are all part of me at any given time….

My incomplete Fucked Up list

quote Russell Brand – Step 4 from RECOVERY

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!

Here goes….

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

finding my space

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

My journal page tonight
quote – Ann Voskamp

Reminiscing Convoy

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

Alannah Radburn

Understanding behaviour



Most people who read this know my story
(If not then cruise on back through my posts and you’ll soon figure it out)
And you will know that I have been in therapy for over 10 years now
it was actually quite a cataclysmic event that I am able to pin point my breakdown to – the Christchurch NZ February 2011 earthquake happened exactly one month after I broke.
Not sure if there is any rational transcendent reasonings behind that timeframe but its definitely a hinging point for my memories


I have learnt and am still learning about me
And how the traumas have affected and altered me
I’m sure it has been beneficial
No, I know it has been incredibly beneficial
It hasn’t changed my past
But it has altered how I deal with my future
My trauma based brain that I operate from still sends out triggers on a daily basis
But I have learnt to how to identify them and cope with them more readily

I’ve also learnt a whole heap of new vocabulary
And for someone like me who processes in the written word
Who loves words
Who loves to research
This helps me immeasurably

Recently I was talking with my therapist about how people perceive me and how I see myself
I am usually seen as being strong and outspoken and independent
But inside I am often a quaking mess, unsure, afraid of being hurt and afraid of upsetting proverbial boats

I present this exterior persona of being strong and in control
Which I also am
I’m both
Because the me that is now I
Was shattered into pieces
And I am trying to meld my pieces back together again
Confused much
Yeah me too



This quote pretty much sums it up though

10 years of therapy sounds a such a long time
But so much else has happened within those years that have rabbit pathed my focus so my therapy has been often stretched sideways
I relaxed into it more easily once I was told in the earlier days by one of my case managers that my abuse/trauma would take a very long time to heal from


So anyways, recently my therapist shared these words with me when I was asking her how the hell do I present so together when I’m actually not…

Firstly
Dissociation
(when we numb out or block painful feelings)
I’m already very familiar with this
I do it often
It makes life so much easier to cope with
But it makes others feel like you don’t care

Over identification
(when swamped and overwhelmed)
oh my Lord!
This is way too familiar
I know one of my ptsd cover ups has been, and often still is, to keep very busy
So I do
And then there gets to be too much happening in my brain
And I start spinning
And one small trigger tips me over
And my brain crashes
Like the wheel spinning on the computer screen
And I blank out drowning in an absolute lost mess



But the third one is the word I needed to understand to answer my question

Disidentification
(when keeping at arms length and know it’s not about me)
This is the word I had not heard before
But it sure is a good one
And it is most definitely me
A lot of the time
It’s the suck it up and do what is deemed right part of me
It’s the brave face
It’s the masks I wear to protect me
And it’s the masks I wear to actually protect others
Because no matter how much I break my silence there are still those who do not know, who can not know, who I still protect

This was the me that was able to stand up the front of the church and speak at my own father’s funeral
I never understood how I did that
But it was expected of me
I was the eldest of the siblings
Eloquant
Strong
Someone who gets shit done
So I did what was expected
And I spoke
I remember absolutely nothing
My mother of course kept all the words and on her death I probably inherited them along with all the other words she passed on to me
I choose not to go searching for them
I choose to stay in a state of insulation to protect my very vulnerable self.

Did I speak at my mother’s funeral
I absolutely cannot remember
I know I organised her funeral
I know so many intimate details of the day, the weeks prior and the weeks & months following
But I have completely buried that part of the day
My mother was an important part of my development but her ultimate betrayal is still too painful and deeply embedded so dissociation wins


But I do know
I stood and spoke at my husband’s funeral
This was the me that was so broken, so lost, so overwhelmed with pain
But I did it
Cuz I had to
For me
For him
For the kids
I disidentified and dissociated

I am so good at it

Words matter

Abuse
How do we speak about it
How do we own it
MY abuse
or
THE abuse

Do we absorb it
make it our own
Do we try to remove it from within
disown it
disassociate from it

How do we process those words

Does It become part of me
– we become consumed by It
– we allow It to absorb Us
– we struggle within It
– we surrender to It

Or

Do we hold it at arms length
– the thing that was done to me
– the thing that has affected me
– the thing that has crippled me
– the thing that changed my life forever

We each develop systems to cope with our individual situations
Those systems in turn become mechanisms
The mechanisms which allow us to continue to live
Some of us ‘appear’ to live well
And others of us don’t

No matter what the outside world perceives of us
The trauma
The abuse
has infiltrated our very core
pierced our soul
And created such damage that we will never ever be the same ever again

But one way we can alter the effects
Is to change
MY abuse
to
THE abuse
And in so doing
We remove the onus
From us
And give it back
To the Abuser, the Perpetrator
The one who did things TO us

Words matter
Context matters






…anything that is mentionable can be more manageable…

“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.”

― Fred Rogers

I was watching the movie “A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood” recently and these words really spoke to me
They are so true
So wise

We have had so many taboos in societal exchange
And those taboos create so much
stress
trauma
generating room for abuse of many kinds to perpetuate

If we cannot talk about
death
life
sex
mental health
relationships
etc
in normal fashion
using real terms and real words

We create
prohibitions
secrets
silences
darkness
damage

Allowing misconceptions to exacerbate
Allowing lies to spread
Allowing abuse to continue

Let’s manage our (un)mentionables
Let’s talk honestly
Let’s talk openly
Let’s be supportive
Let’s be trustworthy

I know if I had had just one person
Just one
Who could’ve seen
Who could’ve been supportive
Maybe, just maybe, life would’ve been so different for the little girl that was me

Unfortunately
The one person that spoke up for me all those decades ago
was just another small person
a witness
but also a victim,
yet another victim
Whose parents
couldn’t hear her
wouldn’t hear her
couldn’t see
wouldn’t see
And because of their inability to manage the unmentionable
she was unheard
she was physically abused
she was verbally abused
she was ridiculed for saying such unmentionable dirty things
she was silenced

one victim
became two victims
and on
and on
and on

until decades later
the ripples in the pond of abuse that my father began
have become so big
and so far reaching
so damaging
in so many realms of my life

Ever since I found my voice 8 years ago
and began mentioning the unmentionable
I have been hearing from more of his victims
and from other victims who have found their voices cuz I found mine
Finding your voice empowers others

Sadly I am still hearing stories from other victims today
It is never ending
But as we manage our humanity
we find support
we find we are not alone

Trust me…

My trust has been broken so so many times


Trust me
I’m your Daddy
I won’t hurt you
Bullshit

Trust me
The landrover’s not gonna go over the bank
We’ll be fine
Bullshit

Trust me
I’m just gonna go to town today
I’ll see you tomorrow when you come out with the kids
Bullshit 

Trust me
I’m your friend
I’ll have your back
Bullshit

Trust me…

Trust me…

Trust me…

When I hear those words…
My stomach churns 
I’m feeling sick
My heads pounding
I’m crying inside
I’m breathing deep
Trying to contain my fears
My whole body is fighting
Trying to release my fears

Trust me…
It’s not that I don’t trust you
It’s that
I can no longer trust myself
to trust