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Progress or Not?

TW: Child Sexual Abuse

I haven't been writing much lately. I've been wanting to but the words inside my head are just all jumbled and my thoughts are having a hard time untangling themselves. There for a while I was writing and painting after almost every therapy session but I guess being stuck in the shelter for 7 months really took a toll on me. I've been in my own space for almost 3 weeks now. I feel like everything is starting to find it's home and I'm getting used to my surroundings.

Just since I moved things have been coming to the surface even more. Right now I can't even remember how it all started and even though I've been wanting to talk about it I've been scared to as well as feeling like I'd just be letting everyone hang with suspense even though I'm hanging with suspense as much as everyone else...

For some time often when I was trying to rest and I'd be laying on my bed there would be a sensation like an increasing heaviness on my upper chest just below my throat. Almost like someone was holding me down. One session we started delving into it to see what's there or what comes up. I don't remember much of that session except that my trauma professional and I both believe it is something very traumatic that happened when I was quite young, maybe between 3-6. It's hard to tell what age because trauma has a way of making memories feel all broken and mixed up but that's the age that part of me seems to be...

A few days later, I was laying on my bed resting and playing games. The heaviness came back and kept increasing until I felt like I could hardly breathe. It nearly made me panic so I got up and tried to distract myself by eating. In the middle of trying to eat it was almost as though I had a sensation of myself as a very young child being pulled by my ankle towards someone. Everything in me was screaming NO!NO! NO! I couldn't hardly focus on anything and I felt like I was losing touch with reality so I sat in the hammock with my big pink teddy bear and banging my feet against the frame of the hammock stand trying to not lose touch with reality. It was bad. I don't ever remember having such a bad flashback. I messaged my trauma professional and I'm grateful that she took the time to call because otherwise I'm not sure what I'd have done with myself. It took almost 2 hours if not longer for me to start feeling more like myself. Hearing her voice helped a lot.

A few days later in our next session we were able to connect with a Protector part that has been trying so hard to protect me all these years from getting hurt. She was terrified that dad would hit her and for so many years she's shushed my voice and held back the tears and stuffed the anger...

It's so hard for me to see anyone in pain and one memory that came to mind is of a year or more ago at another job where I was working an older customer lost her balance and fell but I couldn't even help her. She did manage to get up by herself but I couldn't even look at the her. It was like I just froze inside for some reason. The only thing I can think of is that there is a part of me that carries so much pain that she can't handle seeing others hurt in any way.

That Protector part was reassured that she's safe now from my dad. She had tried so long and so hard to protect me from pain and from my dad. She couldn't stand to look at the younger part of me that was being hurt and when she realized she doesn't have to protect me anymore it was like she just crumbled to the ground in her own pain and exhaustion. The rest of the session was spent in holding and comforting her and letting her rest which she so deserves.

A week later in our next session, 2 days ago, my back was hurting really bad. I seem to hold a lot of tension and fear in my back, no doubt partly from the constant fear as a child of being hit or kicked or something. As I tried to relax and "send some breath and care" towards the aching part of my back I noticed that there was a lot of fear, almost terror.

It seemed like I was in a light filled bedroom but I couldn't see anything or anyone else. All I could sense was that there was a part of me that was cringing in terror afraid of being hit in the ribs. I felt frozen in fear like I couldn't move. I couldn't do anything so my trauma professional asked if she could "enter in", that she could protect me from my dad. It wasn't so much like I felt like I needed protection but maybe just so I wouldn't be alone. So she came and "sat" beside the parts of me that felt so frozen. It was almost like I was terrified out of my mind and even with her "sitting beside me " I felt no connection. Eventually she offered a soft, cozy blanket to each of my parts huddled in fear and eventually those parts of me got out of their fear enough to want to be held for a bit.

She asked if they wanted to play or eat or do something fun now that they were free, but they didn't. I realized that I never really knew how to play like a child should be able to. I knew way more at 3-6 years of age than any little girl should ever have to know. It kept me from being the happy carefree child that I should have been. I didn't know how to play. All I knew was survival and trying to avoid being hurt. And the young parts of me knew that and therefore they hold so much grief. And so much exhaustion.

As I lay on my bed towards the end of the session, those young parts of me had no desire to get up and play. Instead the grief rested in my body so heavy that I felt like my weight had doubled or tripled. It felt like my body should be sinking through the mattress because it felt so heavy. I found myself almost expecting the mattress to rip and my body to fall through the mattress onto the floor. It was a very weird sensation. Almost like I couldn't have moved even if I had tried. It soon lightened but I know it's still there. Probably in every cell of my body.

Because of the immensity of this trauma or whatever it is, it is extremely hard for me to not just panic with the intensity of the sadness and fear that comes to the surface now and then. Since our last session it is almost even more intense, especially the sadness.

Its been a really hard day today. I have been fighting the sadness all day. Because I just want to live life. In the present. But the past needs to be heard and acknowledged and healed so that can happen. As much as I know it in my head my body has different ideas. Its almost like I physically am repulsed by the sadness. I struggle to even let myself feel it. And even if I let a few tears release I can't hardly stand it. Its just too overwhelming or something. Perhaps because for years I've stuffed it all down, way down, because if it at all showed on the surface I might get hurt. So even just being able to acknowledge what I feel for a few seconds by myself is huge. It's no wonder that I find it extremely hard to face by myself. I get so frustrated though because I KNOW that if I could just let myself cry I usually feel better, but the struggle to get to the place where I can release the tears is horrible. And more times than not they just get stuffed down instead of released because it's so hard.

When I was in the shelter I started playing games on my phone to win gift cards to buy things with. Today I finally got to the level of the last gift card I was trying to reach and have now deleted all the apps off my phone related to gaming. It feels good but I'm a bit worried how it will go if I don't have that to distract myself with. I know I'll just find something else to distract myself with...

(9,000 units equaled a $25 gift card. 15,000 units equaled a $50 gift card. Comes out to a few cents per hour for the amount of time I played...I don't really recommend it 🙃)

Today has been hard. The sadness has been overwhelming but I got so frustrated with myself for not being able to just "sit with it" and let myself cry that I wanted to curse. Of course, the things I was working on didn't always go well so those objects got called some bad names, I mean, the same things I was called as a child, even though in reality I was so frustrated with myself and the huge amount of sadness, fear, and frustration I was feeling on the inside. It just got directed towards the objects. I organized things. I cleaned things. I fixed things. Even though I was exhausted and wanted to just lay down and rest, I couldn't be still because of the emotional waves I was feeling.

Then to end it tonight I tried to paint. I tried to paint what grief feels like. Especially how it felt when my body felt so heavy that I almost expected it to go through the mattress.

I don't like it. It doesn't depict the heaviness like I wanted it to. Instead it's a word picture that my trauma professional used during our session.

It almost feels like I've lost my painting and writing abilities for the time being. Most days I can barely take care of myself, let alone trying to think properly or be proactive. Pain seems to be becoming a daily companion even though it is usually resolved during sessions which makes me think that my body is carrying so much pain and trauma and because I have finally, with the help of friends, been able to create a safe space for myself where my parents and other unsafe people have no access to me, those parts/memories can finally feel safe enough to come to the surface...

So here's to more healing for me. I do not feel very good and at times the pain is pretty bad but...I'm trying...trying to go forward...trying to take care of myself and have hope for the future despite some of the horrible things I have feeling are coming in the near future to the world in our back yard...I'm trying not to worry but there are times I wish I wasn't here anymore so I wouldn't have to experience the repercussions of a number of people's bad choices, etc. But here I am, one day at a time. I have a purpose to fulfill and I must somehow keep would seem to be rather in vain to have come this far through hell and not be able to live out the dreams that were placed in my heart...I guess we'll see what happens...

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