Science of Change

Mental Illness has taught me maybe a few things about grander schemes in life. Just a few. Like on my bike ride to Allison this morning and I’ve been mulling it over for a while but never worded it—there is not an end to everything. Anything. I was thinking of this because I was thinking about how I have always pushed and pushed myself to just “get better” and to make it go away and cure myself, heal, recover, that the hell would end. But the thing is “recovery” is a sinful word. Because it implies getting back what you lost. You never do. What is lost is gone, irrevocable CHANGE. But it’s like evolution. You change. You change, change, change—good or bad, your choice. Like the springs that shot from that embodiment of the death–that piece you lost– are now fueled with a new strategy, protons and neutrons and whatever-the-hell-have-you imploding your neuroplasticity, and you wake up, and one day you just know, chemically in your soul—the science of your heart–that you are of some kind of substance. So many things that kept you transparent, floating about as a million different selves, had ruptured, and made you sick. Made you mad. Made you hide from the world out of fear that you were dying, when really parts of you were. A midnight bloom. Jacynth. And like I said, you wake up, and you actually look down at your hands, your forearms, your thighs, to your words, to your feelings, to your thoughts and reactions—and they are there, you can actually feel these things as you–as your own. Your own—like living in a world where you were owned and almost destroyed by others—yourself, your one God given right, was never given to you. And one day, after what so many faiths and poets call the darkness—you emerge not in grandeur and answers, but in your own skin, under your say, your command, your voice. “I AM THE CAPTAIN OF THIS SHIP, THE MASTER OF MY SOUL.” Walt Whitman wrote something like that.
And this realization has proven wrong to me another theory of mine. Are we invincible if we are good or bad? Is there such a thing as bad and good?
We don’t recover; we do not heal because healing implies “better,” we change, and that direction is partially choice and partially what our mental capabilities will. The “soul” is not either good or bad, and neither is the body, but they are both amazing, and they are both beyond our comprehension, but they can also both be toxic, and they are not friends. But merging a mind of logic and skill and emotion and function with the destruction of its parts to the mending or altering of its parts (the uhhh fall-out of your, well, death in a way—a nuclear sub-atomic-spiritual-soul-against-the-sweating-wall-poetic-flim-flam-waste-of-a-dying-star)—change as far as we have seen has purpose, and brighter and darker things can come of it. Do come of it.

Sex, Abuse, Dreams, and Taboos

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My hands are actually sweating writing this.  I’ve wanted to write it for a long time but how do you talk about it?  Well–you don’t.  So you write about it, and then no one 11111111111111111111111111111111111111can look at you.  Childhood sexual abuse, a well-known internet topic, but not-so-known is the secret many victims share–the abuse aroused us.  Maybe not all, but many, many, many survivors share this shame with me.  My therapist wasn’t surprised when I told her about it–which is the only reason I didn’t puke.

I’ve been looking around and found this place helpful–Pandora’s Project.  The opening of their page on Sexual Abuse and Arousal states:

A sexual response or orgasm in the course of sexual assault is often the best-kept and most deeply shameful secret of many survivors. If you are such a survivor, it’s essential that you know that sexual response in sexual assault is extremely common, well-documented and nothing for you to be ashamed of.

and I liked this as well:

If you were sexually assaulted as a child, you were victimized by somebody who had knowledge of how to touch and manipulate you to the ends of their own gratification, and ensuring that your shame and (false) sense of complicity rendered you less likely to tell. It is another dimension of the abuse, and not a statement of you being bad. As you heal, you will come to give the abuser back the responsibility for all of the abuse, including the responses.

However, even though knowing that this reaction is normal, I just can’t accept it, and for very good reasons.  But before I get into that awfully private shit, I want to talk about shame.  I don’t even understand what the word means and I want to know why I don’t.  It’s not in my vocabulary.  I don’t feel like I caused the molesting in any way.  I did not provoke.  I was four for Christ’s sake.  Then why do I hate myself for it?  I don’t understand.  Like this part of my brain is blocked.  I want to do more EMDR.

I have dreams where I am being molested or raped and I wake up in an orgasm.  And the worst part?  The “dirtiest” part? Is in the dream…I like it.  I wake up nauseous and cry my eyes out, wondering what kind of person am I?  And it take A LOT for me to cry.  I have nightmares all the time but these ones kill me.  And then 11111111111111111111111111111there’s the other reason I was hinting at before–my sexuality.  I am a submissive heterosexual bordering on bondage.  Utter submission.  And there are fantasies in my head I’ve only shared with one other  person, and luckily he’s as fucked up as I am, so there’s that camaraderie, lol.  OK, why am I making jokes.

I know arousal is a normal response.  I know that.  But what about now?  What about current sexual desires? –the submissive, bondage, etc.  And is it normal to be having these sick dreams at the same time that I am figuring out my sexuality?  yeah, I’m a late bloomer.  I was very…inhibited and numb until my thirties.  Continue reading Sex, Abuse, Dreams, and Taboos

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A Poem by Sharon Olds

This poem by Sharon Olds comes from her amazing book, Satan Says.

Let me know what you think.  It’s probably one of my favorite poems out there; I’ll never forget it.

 

yvetteinufio9TIME TRAVEL

I have learned to go back and walk around

and find the windows and doors.  Outside

it is hot, the pines are black, the lake

laps.  It is 1955 and I am

looking for my father.

I walk from a small room to a big one

through a doorway.  The walls and floor are pine,

full of splinters.

I come upon him.

I can possess him like this, the funnies

rising and falling on his big stomach,

his big solid secret body

where he puts the bourbon.

He belongs to me forever like this,

the red plaid shirt, the baggy pants,

the long perfectly turned legs,

the soft padded hands folded across his body,

the hair dark as a burnt match,

the domed, round eyes closed,

the firm mouth.  Sleeping it off

in the last summer the family was together.

I have learned to walk

so quietly into that summer

no one knows I am there.  He rests

easy as a baby.  Upstairs Continue reading A Poem by Sharon Olds

Found Myself Today Singing

farmnflea2Well it’s been awhile since I’ve written just a post on what’s up with me lately.  Maybe because what’s up is confusing and yet somehow dull to me.  A couple of great things are happening–I’m seeing a new psychologist who leaves around the bend across the lake and I think she’s…brilliant.  Fucking brilliant.  The first time in fifteen years I felt like, in therapy, “this is the one.  She can help me help myself.”  It’s good dammit.  Good.  I quit smoking.  It’s day four.  My singing voice is already almost fully back!! I’m drinking tea instead of coffee to cut the cravings for a cigarette and I can’ t believe how much better I already feel.  Right now I’ve got the house to myself, blaring the blues, some Aretha, some Richie Havens “Freedom”, some OneRepublic, quite a mix.  I feel so damn good today.  So calm.  Even with the cravings.  Maybe I’ve been so much more at peace because I’m on a right path–my path–and I’m ready for whatever happens in therapy.  I’m stronger now.  I’m willing to get rough.  After the first session I went home and cried so hard I was actually doing that embarrassing hiccup thing, because I felt so exposed and vulnerable to myself, not to anyone but myself.  I have this steal shield I use in the mirror to keep me from believing shit is hard, to keep me from believing I can’ t do it, that I’m weak.  I ask for help from no one, and I just can’t change that.  My sister was crying and asking me why I don’t open up, because it’s too much and too hard alone, and I love her dearly for it, but I just can’t.  It’s not my…style.  You get so used to handling the hard shit alone, pushing down your shoulders and making you sink a little, so you take bigger steps, you gain more muscle in my opinion.  I want to rely on myself, and learn how to do it better.  I was also crying so hard because she got so much out of me and i don’t know how, but I looked at myself, really looked at myself, and i was disgusted by what I saw.  So disappointed, yet I’m so used to disappointment that it wasn’t too much of a crusher.  What she’s doing with me is instead of me blathering on the same tired old story about what all happened to me, is we’re dealing with (first) how I’m dealing with it all in the present.  She’s taken me back to such basic steps I was

HelenMPhotography
HelenMPhotography

blindsided and felt like I wanted to hold her hand because I’d forgotten the importance of ‘the now.’  Back to building blocks, which feels good because I haven’t known up from down in a long time.

Why does it still seem I am still trying to prove myself to myself? Anyone else do this?  I think of therapy/dealing with complex ptsd/bipolar/dissociation/adhd as a challenge, and I must win.  I must defeat what has beaten me down, I must not let one person own me.  I must be the master of myself.  I can almost taste it, yet I’m so far.  As long as I keep going, I’ll make it.  The longer and harder it is, the better it’ll turn out, I know that.  It’s about patience.  I’m by no means rushing into therapy like I used to, expecting results I could hold in my hands, read and educate myself out of a hole.  Oh no.  It’s more holistic than that.  It’s a 180 from that.  Now I go in and I’m like a child eagerly waiting for guidance into what I already know but can’t tap.

Another thing I realized is when you’re in deep water long enough, you get accustomed to it, and for awhile you take the rest of the punches and hits with your chin up, you allow yourself to fully feel the swells of pain that can strike, but what is pain anyways but a tool for success?  Anyway, yeah, you get accustomed to it, but then somehow, after so long, you quit treading, and you float comfortably, until someone comes along and steals your fuckin floaty.  And you see yourself, comfortably numb to all around you, your life–stuck in this swirling eddy of memories and fears and even, at its worse and most embarrassing–self-pity and complacency.  I will not settle for this.  I will not be okay with the woman who fucking sits there il_570xN.445156906_6aipanymore.  She was begging for me to wake up.  And then I wonder–is this another bipolar mood trick?  Am I really feeling this or am I on the upside of the disorder, seeing things that I will only see and feel for a short while ?  Well, if that’s the case I’ll just keep coming back to write about it.  Music.  Music is everything.  It reminds me that I am alive.  That I have a say in things, that my emotions are real, valid things that I can feel without doubt and shame and embarrassment.  I have a say in things.  I have a say in how this shit’s gonna go.  It already went down, I swam through the murk at the bottom, I barely rose, but I’m slowly rising to the surface, its a long way.  And I can look back at the shore but I’ve come to far to go back from where I came, it’s time to swim to a new shore, a new island of Amyness.  :) I can’t go back to what I was, that wasn’t living, from the age of sixteen to thirty I wasn’t living, and I’m still not, but I’m trying, and I’m aware and that’s the key.  That’s living.  It may not be pretty, I may look at myself and just think “aww shit” but I have choices and options.  I remember when it all changed–a specific point.  I was sixteen (already haunted by memories of sexual abuse and living in injustices via my mother and stepfather and the lack of my real father) and I was in my room in the basement listening to “Free Bird” over and over and I was looking in the mirror and I just couldn’t see myself.  I wasn’t there.  Just like that.  I disappeared.  This is also when the bipolar began, I just know it.  I can’t explain it, it would take  to long, but it was.  I forced myself to cry and I just stared at my tears as if they were fake, and i was a fake, a fraud, who felt nothing.  I was empty.  And I would spend the next fifteen years or so trying to fill TheMapleTeaHousethat.  Until the psychosis and PTSD hit and i went to the bin–when I completely shattered.  To a million fucking pieces.  But piecing it back together—I get to create what I want to be.  Not just what i want to SEE, but I what I want to BE, because my feelings are back in full force.  I am not empty anymore.  I think all my life I waited for the break, so I could start over.