Posts Tagged ‘flashbacks’

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Telling my story…

November 20, 2013

is not easy. Nor is walking out my healing. There are many who would not understand my story. They would think it too fantastic…to unbelievable. They would not want to believe that such things even happen. Funny thing is…some of those same people will read the Old Testament in the bible and not question for a moment the child sacrifices and pagan practices mentioned there. (For those who are upset that I use the word “pagan”, get over it. That word is used in the bible, so if you don’t like it, take it up with G-d. I mean no offense.)

In addition to not being able to fully share my story, there is the fact that I still have to deal with what I dub “trauma” brain and PTSD. I kept thinking I was getting better and then things would happen that would seem to throw me backward. Now, the reality is that I AM better on so many levels. But my other reality, as I have been discovering over the past 6 – 8 years, is that abuse in childhood results in the brain developing differently than the brain of a child who is not abused. I have a whole page dedicated to articles on that topic. Abuse, Trauma & the Body/Brain  Most of the articles are technical and deal with medical studies. There does not seem to be much in the way of practical information on how to heal from this or live with this. So, I do the best I can.

There are some things I have noticed. One thing is that the PTSD leaves me very vulnerable to “over”reacting to stress. In other words, I cannot handle the same stresses that a non-PTSD person can handle. What might be merely an annoyance or discomfort for someone else can result in my insides shaking like crazy. The intensity can be huge. I also have flashbacks that are sometimes so strong that I want to rock back and forth to deal with all that energy.

It can be very challenging for me to be out and about as I never know what will hit or when. I can be at the store or on the road when, all of a sudden, I just want to be home…NOW. It diminishes over time, that is, until I get hit with some other life event that knocks me for a loop. Then I feel as if I am thrown back to square one. For a long time, I thought I should be able to fix this…I just need enough therapy or counseling. But that won’t fix a biological problem. Even the PTSD has a biological tie-in and is connected to the trauma brain…seeing as how the same things caused both.

Between trauma brain (which affects how memories are stored and retrieved) and PTSD (which leaves me more vulnerable to life’s stresses ), day-to-day living can be very interesting…to say the least. Oh, and did I mention that I am also rather amnesic? Yep, I am missing all but a handful of memories of ten years of my younger sister living with our family and a whole host of other things in my growing up years and some of my adult life. Some of it may be missing due to improper storage or non-storage because of trauma brain. Some of it is repressed. Some of it may be hidden behind the cloud of dissociation.

At least I now know that there is precious little I can do about a lot of this other than to pray and just keep pushing forward, one day at a time. I used to think there was something I was neglecting.

Ever since my son was arrested, I have been struggling a lot more than usual…a lot. I am forgetting things…or as one doctor once told me…I am probably not forgetting them, I am simply not recording them. I find myself oftentimes leaving things unfinished as I get so easily distracted. I cannot focus as well. Food gets burned. I leave things out in recipes (not often, thankfully, as I have really been working on checking my recipes multiple times while cooking).

Even before his arrest, I was noticing flashbacks, but my ability to handle them is diminished. Too much added stress, I think. I see things and can feel the stress inside starting to skyrocket, so instead of going through that door or down that tunnel to see what is there…what memory is trying to surface…I find myself pushing it away.

Anyway, that is life for me right now. Or at least some of it. I feel overwhelmed. I cannot call people I want to call. I am just making it through each day and trying not to feel guilty for not being “better” than I am. Yeah, I know this is not my fault and largely out of my control, but the rest of the world does not understand and that is what makes it hard. I so want to look “normal” to others because I don’t want to have to tell my story to them. But the reality is that, sooner or later, I need to tell at least a part of it. Maybe…just maybe…they will understand.

To all my friends that I am not calling. I am sorry. It is just beyond me right now and has been for quite a while. I was hoping things would calm down by now…but they are not. In fact, the family situation just keeps getting worse and I am fighting against the effects of it.

I don’t have the energy to proofread this. I hope it turned out OK.

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What is healing…

December 4, 2012

I am not really sure what healing looks like. I think it is different for each person. After years of looking at it, I still don’t have a solid definition, but I can share with you some things that sure look like healing for me.

Healing Is

Healing is being able to laugh…even in the midst of pain.

Healing is being able to cry…even when others are around.

Healing is being able to somewhat identify what I am feeling,
and hopefully…even being able to have an idea of WHY I am feeling it.

Healing is knowing when I need to decompress,
being able to identify safe places to decompress,
and then…doing it.

Healing is being able to sense whether a person or place is safe
And then being able to keep myself safe.

Healing is being able to find joy in life.

Healing is being able to see good things…even when bad things are happening.

Healing is being able to have gratitude for what I do have
rather than bemoaning what I don’t.

Healing is being able to be productive in some way every day
even if I am the only one who recognizes it.

Healing is being able to take a step forward,
no matter how tiny
and even if it is only in my heart.

Healing is being able to face some aspect of my past…without completely crumbling.

Healing is being able to recognize that some part of my history,
no matter how small or big,
no longer has a hold on me.

Healing is being able to make plans…and know that they might actually happen!

Healing is being able to say that I made it through
another minute,
another day,
another hour,
another week,
another month,
another year,
another anniversary,
another flashback,
another body memory,

Healing is having the freedom to fully unleash my creativity and
sing again,
play music again,
write again,
talk again,
share again.

Healing is being able to give without manipulation
and receive without manipulation
even more importantly… recognizing the difference.

Healing is being to allow myself to truly love
and open myself to the potential for heartache without fear,
knowing that I can rise above anything that happens.

Healing is allowing myself to trust others
and being trustworthy myself.

Healing is giving myself permission to live life to the fullest
without thinking much about healing or hurting or my history.
It is allowing myself to temporarily “forget” that I even have an abusive history.

Healing is knowing that I was a victim who dared to survive
and am now a survivor who dares to thrive.

Healing is being able to put words to my experiences,
words like
“rape”
and “sexual abuse”
and “incest”
and “satanic ritual abuse”.
And healing is to put them without capital letters because
I am bigger and taller and stronger than they are
and I refuse to give them capital letter power in my life.

Healing is being able to cry and know that I am OK
and everything will be alright.

Healing is being able to see my Creator’s love for me
even when I know I don’t deserve it.

Healing is being able to see His hand in my life…even during the most awful of experiences.

Healing is being able to see His protection and how He got me through.

I may think of more things to add to that list. As I do, I may edit

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I would really like to know…

October 3, 2012

I would really like to know why it is that even fairly recent memories often times trigger huge emotional surges. Why do positive memories evoke the same surges? And I am not talking about something grand like a wedding or something you would expect to bring an emotional high. I am talking about a PTSD-like reaction to common place memories…both from long ago and from the last few years.

I wonder if there is something in these positive and neutral memories and in the more recent memories that is tapping into the past negative ones. Could it be that there are triggers that relate to the past?

Or…could it be the time of year is also affecting me? Overall, it does not feel like it. And this has not just happening recently. I have been this way for a very, very long time. There is something about remembering that affects me. I either remember differently from others or I remember with an emotional surge. Or at least that is for the majority of memories.

I have lain in bed and started to recall something (not a new memory…something I already knew) and I would suddenly start to shake and I would find myself pushing the memory away. Why????

My flashbacks have almost always been the body/emotional kind. Only once in a while would I get the visual kind. When I do get the visual, it is almost always a really quick flash and a huge surge of emotion…PTSD time. I don’t have the space and time to really explore this, so I am just trying to live with it. Ugh!

So, here are my thoughts, for whatever they are worth. I hope that writing will help inside.

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Things I have been pondering…

October 2, 2012

I have been thinking about what to write here…the thoughts kind of going around in my head and heart. I am not sure what is going on with me.

When we moved into this house, I thought I would have some space and freedom to do any healing work that needed to be done…while, at the same time, not really being sure of what that work might be. Randy Noblitt told me on the phone about 2 years ago that he thought my system was shut down. Is it? Or is it just so blended that it appears that way? Since he has not worked with me, can he really make that kind of assessment?

I know I am still partially amnesic, but I am not sure how much. I still don’t remember my sister growing up in the same house with me. That is pretty huge…no way around that. But I don’t think blending automatically brings recall. My former counselor knows of quite a few survivors who blended and the memories came later…or some not at all.

Splitting is one form of protection and self-preservation. So is repressing. How much memory recall (or lack of) is due to repression and how much is due to splitting? I don’t know and I don’t know of any way TO know.

Lately, I seem to be getting a few flashes. Can’t tell you what they are because I don’t remember. I find it easy to shove stuff like that aside, but I think something is brewing. I just am not sure what. I am thinking it may be time to talk to “myself” again…like I did a lot in the beginning of this journey.

There is something I notice about myself that might be key to what is going on. When I think about things in the past, I almost always get a surge of emotion. It does not matter what I am remembering. It could be something positive and I get the same surge. It is puzzling to me. And it does not have to be the long ago past, either. It is as if the PTSD element of my mind and emotions is linked to ALL my memories…even fairly recent ones. Why is that?

Of course, our living situation for the last few years before getting into this house was enough to cause PTSD in many people. I have been told time and again by so many that they could not do and they did not know how I did. I just tell them it was the L-rd, plain and simple. He got me through it.

Now I live in an unfinished house that is a bit cluttered and I long for some semblance of order. My husband’s work schedule is all over the map…constantly changing hours and days off…totally inconsistent. It is affecting our whole family. It feels impossible to get into any kind of real routine.

So, I just keep moving forward…I think, anyway. On the one hand, I seem to be doing OK and, on the other hand, I am struggling. This introvert with PTSD is feeling rather drained. And yet, I DO get a lot done.  Just not all I WANT to get done.

I am doing some PSE 8 “art” work…mostly stuff with words that I post on FB. I am fighting for my country on FB. I am home educating high school. And several months ago, I picked up my guitar again after over 12 years of not playing. When the memories started to come and the DID became obvious, everything else in my life pretty much came to a screeching halt as I sought healing.

Now, I am picking it back up and I am singing “publicly” again. I know better than to push forward too hard or too fast. I am singing this Sunday…twice. Do I feel ready? Maybe. I have sung twice now at two singfests. The first time I blew everyone and myself away. I felt like I was “back in the saddle”.

The second time I felt some of the pressure of their expectations. Plus, the mic setup was awkward compared to the first time. It was more chaotic. But the feedback I got was good. Once I am up there and I just start, I get into it and let the music and the Ruach/Spirit take me away. If I can ever get it to be quiet enough in here, I might try recording on my laptop. It probably won’t sound all that good, but I can try.

So, here I am…trying to get my thoughts together, feeling like I am rambling. I have had things to share for some time, but simply not been able to find the words. It is hard for me to understand myself what is going on.

But this I know. The time is short. I am watching what is happening in the world and in my country and I truly believe we don’t have that long before Messiah returns. So, how much time and energy should I try to spend on healing? I really don’t know. I have learned to take each day as it comes. If the right setting and opportunity come along for healing work…I will take advantage of it. So far, it simply has not been here.

I am going to throw some stuff away in the office. That might help. Then I can try to create some kind of space for personal healing. Maybe.

Don’t know if any of this made much sense to anyone, but I just wanted to finally take some time to get some thoughts out…even if they are a bit disjointed.

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Thinking back…

August 14, 2012

In between preparing for another year of home schooling and a potential huge change in our living situation, I have been thinking about why I was so triggered the other day. I think I know why.

There are some who interpret scripture in such a way as to say that an abused wife must stay with her husband…that is is G-d’s will for her to do so! The scriptures they use to “justify” this position are not really saying that at all.

It is really frustrating when people take English translations and make dogmas out of them not realizing that there is no precise translation from one language to another. Word for word is impossible and, sometimes, even thought for thought is a real challenge. You have to take so many things into consideration. The author. The audience. The culture. The language. The idioms. The style of writing. The style of expression. How the author likely meant it and how it would have been understood by the reader/listener.

What is even harder is when I run into someone who is unwilling to even hear about these things. They simply want it to say what they want it to say. The idea that they might be wrong is simply not acceptable to them. They do not want their “world” to be shaken. And I can understand that…I truly can. I have had some major paradigm shifts in my own understanding of G-d and the scriptures. And there was a time when my self-confidence, my self-image, was very dependent upon my being “correct”. But sooner or later we need to mature and grow and heal so that we can truly say, “Show me the Truth, L-rd. Show me the Truth!”…even when it is something that is uncomfortable…something I do not like or really want to see.

While these people are annoying, that is not what was so triggering. It was the idea that an abused wife should stay with her husband…that she has no real recourse. That makes the woman (and, potentially, her children) trapped in a situation that will only perpetuate the abuse on to the next generation if it is not stopped. It also has to potential to damage the children’s relationship with, and understanding of, G-d.

Children tend to view G-d in the same way they view their fathers, which is not surprising given that G-d presents Himself as a “Father”, even though G-d actually has no gender or has even both. We are made in His image…male and female. When children are abused in the home it tends to cloud their image of G-d. When they are abused in the church, or by church people, or in the “name of G-d” (which is a lie, for G-d does not approve of abuse), children tend to get confused about the nature and character of G-d…and understandably so.

I had scriptures used against me by my abusers. My father quoted the commandment to honor my parents to me…while either not understanding what “honor” really means…or understanding and simply being manipulating. I was even an adult at the time! Oh, I have been accused of breaking a few commandments. I have had spirituality used against me by church leaders. And I have had spirituality used in very healing ways.

But back to being triggered. I think it was the idea of the woman being trapped…no way out…no recourse…no support. Now way to turn…no where to run. When someone tells me that, it is very difficult to not view that person as either an abuser currently, or a non-abuser who would turn a deaf ear and blind eye, or a potential future abuser. You see, this kind of belief gives the husband a kind of power that I do not believe G-d ever intended in His word. And we know what a lot of power can do to some people. I shudder to think of it.

I believe that the triggering is a form of emotional flashback. I was thrown back, in essence, to the time when I felt trapped…whether as a child or an adult…to a time when I felt helpless and hopeless. Thankfully, that is no longer my life, but I sure can get triggered and thrown back into that emotional state.

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Being triggered…

July 15, 2012

There is a fairly new blog on the scene called She’s Somebody’s Daughter.  Actually, there are two. The other one is called Music for the Soul. Both blogs are offshoots of the site called Music for the Soul. I have known about the main site for some time. They have some wonderful music for healing and comfort. And now they have the blogs.

I am making my way through them. Recently I read a post that was very triggering. You can find it here: He Said, She Said. Now, to be clear, quite a few articles on these two blogs have the potential to be triggering, especially the She’s Somebody’s Daughter blog. These articles deal with abuse. When I read the He Said, She Said blog I wanted to cry.  I was hit with a wave of emotion.

When a person has been abused, it can be very difficult to read, or hear, about abuse. It can resurrect all kinds of feelings connected to our own abuse history. And abuse makes me angry. This was not some theoretical situation. It really happened!

I have had to ask myself why it was so triggering, though. I have come along way in my healing…or so I thought. If I am gut level honest,  I have to say that I am angry because I don’t know that I would have reacted in the right way had I been there. I have been programmed since childhood to let things go…to not make waves…and, most importantly, to question reality.

My first reaction would have been to question what I had just seen or heard…whether it was directed at me or at someone else. If no one else, especially the perceived victim, did not react, I would most likely have stayed silent when I should been putting this lout in his place! And THAT is how this junk keeps on happening. Because the programming can still be strong and the knee-jerk reaction is to have no reaction.

I cannot count the number of times that I have “allowed” abusive behaviour in my life. I am ill-equipped to say “no”. Thankfully, there has not been any in years. Still, I cannot help but wonder what I would do if I ran into someone who dared to do the unthinkable…especially in the unlikeliest of places…in front of others. Would I be able to allow myself to make waves, to become the center of some unwanted attention?

It is the silence of others that helps the victim think she/he has no right to complain…that this is somehow “OK”. And it is the silence of the victim that contributes to others thinking it really is not bad behaviour. What a Catch-22! Victims have often had their voice taken away from them. The adult that does not react is most likely the child who was abused and not allowed to share.

So, I ask myself…if it happened to me, would  have been strong enough to stand up to it? Would I have been terrified of losing my job? Would I have been afraid that others would think I was just over-reacting or being needlessly prudish? Would I have had the guts to get in the face of a guy who slapped me on the rear end? I pray that I would deal with it…swiftly and firmly.

Yet, I also know that there may be programming still buried inside…not yet broken and cleared out. I won’t see another therapist who understands ritual abuse, even if I were to get the money, because I won’t risk a repeat of what happened the last time. I want to stay safe. I don’t want to be triggered into another rape. Programming can be hard to deal with, but I am determined to keep on fighting so that incidents like this one won’t happen on MY watch…to me or anyone around me!

So, yeah, reading it was a bit triggering. It reminded me of things I prefer to forget…until Yeshua tells me that it is time to look at them. But it also reminded me that there is more to work on.

I suggest checking out the main site and the blogs…especially the music. I hope you will find something that speaks healing to your heart…and maybe you can contribute something to help the cause.

I hope this post makes sense. I just replaced my keyboard and some of the keys are not working correctly. It is very distracting having to retype and go back and fix everything. If you see typos, please be gracious.

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Living Life in the Face of Nastiness…

March 30, 2012

There are people in life who are simply nasty. They are mean, disrespectful and really don’t care how what they do affects others. When confronted with such people, we have choices to make. We can either react to them, wherein we lose ourselves by allowing them to control our lives and determine how we will live. Or, we can respond to them, wherein we maintain our own autonomy and integrity and choose how we shall live. I prefer the latter. That is my choice.

When I am confronted by nasty negative people I choose to remember that I, too, have had my “moments” of being nasty or ugly. It may not have been intentional. I may not have even been aware of how I was coming across. Or, I may have realized it as it was happening, but did not know how to “fix” it. Or maybe there was no fix…the damage was already done. Any way you look at it, I have had a negative impact on others at times in my life. So, I believe it is worthwhile to remain humble toward others, recognizing that I am certainly not perfect, either!

I also try to remember that everyone is the way they are for a reason. For good or bad, we have all had negative and positive experiences in life that have helped to shape us into what we are today. Sometimes, the balance between positive and negative was fairly even overall. But for some of us, one heavily outweighed the other.

For those whose positive experiences heavily outweighed the negative it can be difficult to understand those of who whose lives were the opposite. We may fumble where they do not. We may react to things that do not faze them one bit. I think it is good when each person can believe another’s story and try to imagine living in that reality. It can help us to be more empathetic toward others.

For those of us who weigh heavily on the negative, and some even in the extreme, it can be difficult to imagine life without that. We see the way others live and struggle to comprehend how they can do that. It just isn’t even on our radar.

Thankfully, though, there can be some good experiences even in the midst of craziness and evil, that give us some positive skills for life. For me, knowing my Creator made a HUGE difference. It is part of what helped to shape me and, I think, to temper how the abuse affected me.

I still deal with the physical effects of trauma brain and I can still experience flashbacks that are part of PTSD and getting  triggered.  However, I have learned over the years how to cope and work around the aftereffects. I know what I can do and what I cannot do and I no longer feel guilt or shame over what I cannot do…even when others do not understand. It is frustrating at times when people look less favorably upon me for what I cannot do. They cannot comprehend how even the simplest of things can be overwhelming at times. But I have learned to live with that and simply accept that there are things they simply do not know and, even if they did, might not be able to understand.

Life is good…even when it is hard. I am OK with that. My heavenly Abba/Father/true Daddy walks with me. So does my Messiah…Yeshua. Their Ruach/Spirit lives within me and that strengthens and comforts me…especially when life is hard.

I refuse to give up. I refuse to hold grudges. I refuse to not forgive. I choose to walk in freedom with my head held high…even when I am shaking inside.

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