Friday, May 11, 2007

The mess that is me....

Ok, I promised I'd be talking more about "serious stuff."

Like I said, I'm not sure why all that tumbled out when it did....but, I don't regret saying it. To me, it's just fact. I struggle so much with all the fall-out of what happened to me. In the beginning, I was the only casualty. But, as the days went by, and I told those close to me.....the list of casualties grew. To my brother. To my parents. To Ike. To some of my friends. Just hearing what I had gone through, was almost too much for some of them to bear. Some just could not deal with it. Some sought therapy of their own.

And here we are. Dealing with the fall-out still. That's what pisses me off. I feel like I should be done with it. Over it. Moved on. But, it never seems to ever go away. Even when I do forget about it and move on....something small can happen....and it's back in an instant.

Some of it is big stuff, some of it is small stuff. But, it's all devastating.

Did you know that the reason my memory is so bad (according to my previous therapist) is that I have blocked so much stuff out...that my brain has to work overtime on that, which leaves it fatigued when it comes to other stuff. Basically, I have blocked things that I can't deal with and it took "good" stuff with it, too. For instance, I have no memory of OUR first date and first kiss. Ike can tell me the story of that night and I can go........hmmm, that seems familiar, but I have no actual memory of it. And now, I can "remember" it because he had told me the story so many times, that I remember what "he told me" but not the actual event. Does that make any sense at all?

Did you know that even though we are celebrating our 15th anniversary in a few weeks, the fall-out almost ruined our marriage in the early years? It was so hard. Here's an example of what our marriage has had to endure. One time, we had a fight over something that was probably stupid (I don't remember what the fight was about.) and I was pretty upset. I tried to walk see, after my rape, that's what I the face of adversity, I ran away. So, Ike reached out to my hand to get me to stop, to calm me down. But, it backfired in his face. What happened was that I had a "flashback." I didn't want to be held against my will and I freaked out. This had nothing to do with Ike. It was "fall-out." I happened to be standing in a doorway of our home and I ripped my hand/arm away from him. Hard. Screaming and out-of-control. When I did, I hit the corner where the 2 walls meet. Realllly hard. And then I ran. Right out the front door. In a panic. I ran to my car and when I tried to open the car door....I fell on the ground in pain. Ike carried me back into the house and we determined pretty quickly that I had to go to the emergency room. I had broken every blood vessel across the top of my hand. We made up a story because I didn't want the ER people to ask me questions. I avoided questions at all costs.

Behavior like this continued thru the first whole year of our marriage. Either things were really good and it was a good day. But, most days were filled with chaos. And the nights filled with nightmares. So, we partied. Often. When I was drinking, I didn't have to worry about it. I wasn't an alcoholic or anything like that, but we did drink several times a week with our friends. (In our defense, we were still in college...and that's just what we did. That's what we did before I was raped. But now, my motivation was different. I didn't drink socially, really....I drank to forget.)

I just tried to pretend that it never happened. To ignore it. (ask me how well that worked!!)

We also had problems in our physical relationship because of me. Sorry, tmi....but, it's part of the story. I had flashbacks much of the time we were together. Sometimes, they were minor. Most of the time....they were horrible. Can you imagine being a newlywed and the whole sex thing not working out too well? Well, it was bad. For Ike. For me. And I struggled with massive guilt because of it. We'd seem to make 2 steps forward and 10 steps back. I struggled with issues of being "whorish" because of how the rapist had treated me....and I had trouble with the line between normal physical relations between husband and wife and what that bastard had done to me. Because some of it was the same physical acts. I just did not have a "healthy" view of sex. Period. It was a very difficult thing for both Ike and me. And I'd be lying if I didn't say I still struggle with it today. Not to the same extent as back then, but still in some ways. I hate that.

So, the more I tried to push down what happened, the more it threatened to explode out. And when it did, it was devastating.

Finally, during that first year, I sought out therapy thru the campus health system. It seemed like a good idea. Until I walked in there and the woman said, "For me to help you, you are going to have to tell me exactly what happened to you." Well, I freaked. I wasn't ready to go there. I spent all my time trying to repress those memories, not rehash them. So, I walked out and never went back.

In early 2003, Ike was offered a job for the 3rd time at a tv station in Tulsa. So, he figured he better take it. After we moved to Tulsa, the problems got worse. I eventually sought help at Call Rape, a non-profit agency in Tulsa. I went thru like 2 years of individual therapy, therapy with Ike and group therapy. It was very helpful.

I did a lot of public speaking about my experience and about Call Rape. I did articles in many publications. Ike and I spoke together many times. It was hard and scary, but it was good for me. It helped me progress in my healing.

You know, the thing that shows me I'm still making progress probably seems so small to everyone else, but it's such a big deal to me. It's a window. My bedroom window. I haven't been able to sleep with the window open in over 15 years. I've been doing it all Spring long. Now granted, my window is a considerable distance off the ground, but someone could still get into it w/ the right equipment. But this is a huge thing for me. Huge.

Ok, I think this is enough for now. I've already ran down my laptop battery writing all this out and now I'm plugged into the wall. And now, I'm exhausted.....and it's only 9:45am.

Please feel free to comment or ask questions. I don't mind. Talking about it can be very therapeutic.

I think I mentioned going to the doctor yesterday. My blood pressure was thru the roof. And he put me on some yummy meds to help me deal w/ all this anxiety. I hope it helps. But, he says he's concerned with how "fragile" I seem (hmmmmm....was crying 3 times in 20 minutes the dead giveaway?) But, he says he can see how I'd be so stressed w/ the move, the 2 houses to pay for, the kids, the flood, the no friends......... So, he's sending me to a therapist. And quite frankly, I can't wait to go.

I'm done with the rollercoaster.....and I want off. I prefer selling the tickets.


karen said...

I think it's great you use your blog as a form of therapy too! It always helps me to write things out. I have a blog about my mother in law but no one knows how to find it - it just lets me vent with no fear.

Stacy Armstrong ~ Come on in, The Studio is Open ~ said...

Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome...........Its totally expected, your symptoms are to be expected, what you are going through is to be expected. What happened to you in 2 days doesn't take 2 days, 2 months, 2 years or 2 decades to heal. Your healing time is up to you. You have to be the one to decide how much you want to deal with and give yourself permission to deal with it. You have very very special gifts that were not taken away that day......if anything your horrific experiece has made them stronger. Do you know what they are?? One is your candour-- a highly sought after quality of being honest and straightforward in both speach and attitude. Secondly, you have the gift of Charisma: the ability to influence others. You are the most warm, open and nonjudgmental person I know. You can have conversations with people easily. That is a true gift!! I'm willing to bet if you use these gifts to help others, you will be helping yourself. I'm not saying you have to talk and expose yourself to what happened. Maybe use your gifts in your kids school, old folks get the idea. I know you have a lot of little ones at home, and getting a babysitter complicates matters......but try to put them to good use. I know it will make you feel better because you are doing something you are good at. As far as you memory goes......Well, I'm sure you do have a lot that is repressed. But don't be too hard on yourself. I can't remember the first kiss either. After I had 2 kids (and you have twice that) I can't remember a darn thing. I don't even know what time they were born or how much they weighed. I guess it really doesn't matter how much we remember as long as we are living in the present. I hope you find a good therapist. Somebody who can see those same traits right away. And they don't need to know what happened........they just need to know what's happening now!! KWIM. Anyway, you are loved by many people and I love you just the way you are........even with soggy carpets!!

Anonymous said...

Uh, well...I wasn't brutally fact I've led a pretty charmed life ya know, but I'll be damned if I'm sleepin' with MY window open! You're a brave sister! I've got bolts on my windows, my barky dog, an alarm system, and if that doesn't make me feel safe enough, then I've got a sweet-ass 280 pistol loaded and ready to go under my mattress. :) Just call me Annie get yer gun! :)
I'm scared alot, but not nearly as bad as I used to be. I used to wake up in the night totally expecting to see a man standing in my hallway...eek! Talk about some anxiety! BUT, my pal Mark gave me some really good, Biblically based lessons on defeating fear, and it really really helped. I can (almost) sleep through the night...uh, but you can forget me givin' up the pow pow, hee hee! :)

mandy said...

My thoughts from this blog post are...1. it is easy to let life pass you by and or get swept away by the crappiness that life brings but you are an amazing person. Getting help through drugs and therapy is wonderful! 2. Go Ike! for having the courage and strength to stand by you through this. My first fiance couldn't do it for me and I don't think a lot of men can. 3. I'm pro-therepy. IT is working for us and going to save my mariage and I just know it will help you! 4. Hopfully now your house is sold, maybe your stress can decrease a bit. 5. you are a friend magnet and eventually you will attract some awesome people. 6. I still think you should come to convention!! 7. I'm tired and need to go to bed before I ramble on some more!

FlipFlop Mom said...

Thank You for sharing... You don't know how much this means to me!!!

Jen Gallacher said...

I think you are a powerfully courageous woman! I am so sorry that you have such a horrible ordeal to deal with. I pray that you will find the peace that is right for you and the path that will take you there!

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