Then and Now

I love crafts… All.of.them. My craft room has been vacant for quite some time. Not the craft supplies–me. There is more than enough for everyone to create their masterpiece. Why not me? Where has my desire to color images/make cards/paint/Bible journaling/cutting vinyl and paper for various projects with my Silhouette/and on and on and on/ gone? I actually can give you the date when my world came crashing down — again.

July 26, 2013 around 8:30-9:00pm. I can see myself sitting at my computer getting ready to pay a few bills. I was not looking for it, it was just there. Something that had not been there before. A different page came up with a few tabs I could click on to see more information. What did I do? Click, of course! Unknowingly, that click would change my life forever…

Pornography kills. Did you know that? I’m sure there are many different ways this is true for people. I only know that it killed me. Obviously, I’m still here physically, but it seems that everything else within me died that night. Would I have reacted differently if my husband had confided in me of his porn addiction? Would I have been compassionate, loving and forgiving? I’ll never know, but honestly I doubt my reaction would have been much different.

I grew up with a very strict authoritarian father. I was not allowed to cry. I learned at an early age that showing emotion was not acceptable. The deep pain I carried was locked away inside of me. Getting mad was also not an option. So who was this insane person I became in 2013?

Rage. Total and complete Rage. There was absolutely no way I could hide it. Disgust, humiliation, rejection, confusion, pain, pain, pain that would not leave me alone. Days turned into weeks, into months, and then years. I can admit now that all of the intense anger I directed towards my husband was not all “his fault.” All of the “significant” males in my life had abused me in one form or another.

My dad, who I refer to as “asshole Arthur” (I shortened to aa). He was a terrorist. Not in the way one normally thinks of that word, but he did terrorize me! I have confirmation from my therapist haha.

Then there’s my first husband. Ernie. I tell people that I married a rapist. You should see the look on their faces! No, I did not know he was an official rapist before I married him. Although, he actually date raped me! What did I know? I was a young teenager and thought I had to do what people told me to do. Keep quiet. Don’t tell. That’s what aa told me, terrorized me into believing. So na├»ve! Ernie is a story in itself which will have it’s own spotlight at some point in the future.

So you see, my experience with men has been devastatingly sexual in origin. Scared into silence. I had no voice and no rights. Then comes the pornography I discovered on the computer. Betrayal all over again. What’s wrong with me? I completely took it personally. My body was disfigured due to the chopping off of my breasts! (My cancer journey is a story for another time.) Insecure? You bet!

My mind/body/spirit has not been “normal” whatever that is for a very, very long time. I think I was just fine in my mother’s womb, but I can’t say for sure haha. I miss the “Calgon take me away” days. If you are much younger than me, you probably don’t recognize that line from a commercial oh so long ago. The days when I could get lost creating for hours on end. It was such great therapy! Therapy now is hard work. Every week I go and regurgitate past horrors. I would seriously like to get off the hamster wheel!

Triggers are another rabbit trail to discuss regarding PTSD. There’s so much more to say! I feel compelled to write this all out. As ugly as my life story gets, feel free to scroll on by. I write this for myself and for total restoration (thank You, Jesus!).

Until next time… love and blessings to you : )

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Trauma

It’s real. It’s raw. Acknowledging trauma and working through it is the only way to recovery. I’ve lived over 1/2 a century with deep trauma that I didn’t know was trauma. How could that be? To be honest, I thought what I was feeling was “normal”– for me. Panic attacks, fear and anxiety have been a huge part of my adult life. I sought counseling off and on since I was 17 years old, but here I am almost 60 years old sobbing my eyes out!

Childhood abuse, abuse from my first husband, losing my sister at a very early age, a cancer diagnosis, discovering my husband’s porn use, more health challenges, more heartache… they’ve all taken their toll on me. The devastation within my marriage is what brought all of those other situations bubbling up to the surface. I thought I had dealt with some of them, (not very well I might add) but I realized all I did was think and talk about them. I never knew there was such a thing as “trauma work.” It’s only been in the past 5 years that my eyes have been opened to the possibilities of actual healing.

My very early childhood (around 3 years old) was confusing, terrifying, and way too much for me to handle. I survived sexual/physical/emotional abuse. I do not have memories of the terror, but I certainly have body memories. I’ve learned through EMDR therapy that the body always keeps score. What the mind cannot handle, the body remembers and “acts out.” I go through flashbacks feeling the fear, physical changes in breathing, body tremors and many times my mind is not in the present moment, feeling like a “zombie.”

Tears which were non-existent most of my life, flow freely now. I go through seasons of weeping–crying almost every day. Then there are days that I feel much lighter. Always, always, always, there is a very dark cloud lying in wait for the opportunity to suck me back into the nightmare.

This is the story of my life… I desperately need a place to vent and work things out in my head. I’ve been silenced ever since that 3 year old was terrorized into hiding the truth. Now, I’m trying to find my voice! These writings are for myself, but if you happen to read them, I pray you will find that you are not alone.

Jesus said, “I am the Truth.” May His presence wash over us, bringing fresh hope for total restoration. No, we are not alone!