September 2011

Self Harm

Self-harm is a very controversial subject and one that many people skirt around or as they say tread lightly.

Let’s first turn our attention to the outside world looking in. We have unstable minds, deliberately causing untold injury to ourselves, whilst finding or being given justification. No one in their right mind would be able to do such a thing, what perverse pleasure are we striving for? Questioning our sanity fully aware the question has already been asked and answered. They turn to our Psychiatrists for answers; how can they stop us doing this? How do they deal with the dilemma now facing them? Make no question this is all about them loving us, trying to shield us from any more harm than we have already experienced. There are so many books out there; maybe that’s where they will find the answers. Anything is worth a try, they can’t sit and watch us 24 hours a day it’s just not possible. Then there’s the guilt they feel when leaving us to our own devises, unaware of what they may find on their return. They see themselves losing all control whilst striving to help us in our recovery. Sadly they are between a rock and a hard place.

Control is the key word here as we explore the other side of the coin, inside the bubble that we have created for ourselves. Whilst trying to claw back any control whatsoever.

For many like me, all control was removed the day our abuse started. Control is not always as straight forward as it seems, in the way many people regard it. From an early age we are told by our abuser that they are in control and that we best not ever forget that, and in truth you don’t. Even in adulthood when the abuse may or may not be behind you, you follow the golden rule. Your abuser doesn’t need to be there for this to happen, you’re conditioned this way until the day you find the strength to heal. Add to that the enormous pressure within the mental health care you receive. Even that is not straight forward; healing us takes structure. The script and time frame as they would have it, capitulating to their will. You’re asked to revisit a place that was all about control, a place of pain whilst in the hands of your abuser. The ultimate control that we have been fighting all our life’s to regain. The people who love us try to control our movements in fear of what we may or may not do. So what’s left for you? You embark on the road to Self harm.

The pain tearing you apart inside has been there for so long, that you have no control over it whatsoever. Overly more you never had. But you can control the pain you feel on the outside, that pain can then become the focal point. If you hurt enough physically, maybe it will shut out the pain of your terrifying memory. For my part it was something I tried to hide, choosing to create this pain where it was not visible, the more it hurt the less I thought about my painful past. I would never let it get to a place of healing, before I once more felt the need to open up the wounds. The most important factor in this whole issue is that you are in sole control. You can choose when or how to inflict the pain. Self harm is yours and yours alone. For all of this to make sense to people who have never been in this place, is really asking for far too much. All that matters to you is that one word – control. No one can take this from you, you choose how where and when. So how can we replace emotional pain by inflicting the physical? The truth be told is that we can’t, it deadens the nerve just enough to get us through the day.

The above story is happening all over the world as I speak, but it’s a journey we can come back from. Will it be easy? I’m Sorry to say that it won’t, but that should not hinder your journey to recovery. You will never take a bigger stride in your life, than the one you will make towards your journey’s end. But please believe me when I say, that’s the time you take back control of your life once and for all. From that point on the control becomes yours alone . . .

When The Nightmares Start

I shoot up in bed – sweat pouring from my body, the sheets clinging tightly all around me. I try to adjust my eyes to the light, while they are darting from one corner of the room to another. I know he is here I heard his footsteps on the stairs. He is coming closer and closer to me with ever step that he takes. Suddenly it’s all out there in front of me, the memory of his breath on my face, the rancid taste in my mouth. Invading my body whilst I am unable to move, paralysed with fear. Why can’t I see him? The light was playing tricks with my vision. I know that he is here somewhere, was this some other trick he had perfected? I start to feel sick bile escaping from my stomach; a burning sensation at the back of my throat is making me gag. I curl up in a tight ball tucking in my hands and feet, the smaller I become the more of a chance I have of not being seen. My heart is beating so hard it feels as if it will burst right out of my chest, I had to quieted it down the noise would bring him right to me. I take a big gulp of air and hold my breath. This time someone would come they just had to, all along knowing that nobody would they never did. There’s a scream trying to escape my mouth. I bite the inside of my lip and concentrate on the pain, anything but the monster I knew was only inches away from me. I’m suddenly aware of the bitter taste of blood but I had to keep biting down hard, it was the only way to stop the scream from escaping. I know he is just behind me, I could hear each breath that he took in the deathly silence. Maybe it will be over quickly, I could just close my eyes until he was done with me. Why was the wait before he found me far worse than the act? Was it the fear of the unknown? A fearful emotion which I still had some control over? Once found I would lose all control, all the power would become his. I was too big I had to make myself smaller. Panic stricken I was thrown into a state of intense fear and desperation. The air was filled with apprehension not unlike waiting for a snake to strike. It’s so sudden when he does that it knocks the wind out of me, his crazed mad eyes reminding me that he was in charge and that he always would be. I won’t tell who was I fooling? No one would believe me, they would take me away and put me in a children’s home. I scream but there is no sound, the scream I had been holding in until it almost choked me had now dissipated.

I’m now wide awake having found myself in a dream within a dream. I feel utterly wasted, just as if I had been in a prize fight. I look around the room only to find that I am all alone. I lower my head back on to the pillow its two o’clock in the morning, any more sleep this night would be lost to me. This situation had been going on for so long, the fear of closing my eyes whilst fully aware of where that would take me. How do you close your eyes in the knowledge of the dark place waiting for you? You feel yourself drifting sleep is almost yours. You are just so tired maybe tonight the dreams won’t come, you fight to stay awake your eyes stringing with the required effort. You know it’s only time before exhaustion takes over. The doctor offers you medication; that’s not a choice you can make sleep is the enemy. Living your life in a loop it seems on a never-ending merry-go-round. You feel as if there will never be an end to the nightmares.

Well I am here to tell you that there positively is. Our dreams are our own subconscious thought’s. No one else has access to the deeply troubled and vivid memories inside our heads. We are having these nightmares because we have still not dealt with the fundamental cause. There are so many things to do during the day that can occupy the mind, we busy ourselves; there is not enough time to dwell. But when the lights go out and we climb in to our bed there is nothing waiting there for us but our thoughts. So how do we change that? The answer is to deal with our issues one at a time, during our waking hours where there are distractions. You can then take strength from those around you, they may not even be aware that you are doing so but they don’t have to be. Ask yourself this question; is it better to deal with your demons in the day light hours or all alone in the hours of darkness? I’m sure you will arrive at the same conclusion I did. Don’t run if you need to walk, go at a pace that suits you and you alone. Even tiny steps will turn into strides if you make enough of them. There will come a day when the only thing waiting for you in the turbulence you have suffered will be a peaceful welcoming sleep. Take heart take courage and above all believe. It is achievable and yes you can take my word on that . . .

Weighted Which Way

I have just been asked by my Counsellor about my sexuality, a question I have been waiting for that took its time to arrive. The answer has been in my mind for so long waiting to be announced. I truthful didn’t know. So what were my options here? It seems through choice that I am Heterosexual, Bisexual or Lesbian. It all sounds so very clean-cut, all the boxes ticked in the right place. The problem I am having, is that not one box has been ticked within me. The three most prominent males that influenced my life had made it so difficult.

Let’s first turn to my Father who had been a violent Alcoholic, he had beating my mother so badly, that I had been born a month early as a direct result of a boot in her stomach. Withholding from her the money to purchase even food, it seemed he felt the pub was the place to spend his earnings. Any snippet that was given to her was spent on feeding us children. Result? Even while seven months pregnant you would never have been able to tell.

Now let’s walk down the path a little further towards my Stepfather. Abuse is the only word I can bring to mind with regards to this person, not only as a child but repeated with such venom and destruction in my adulthood. There was only ever one promise he gave to me that he kept; he told me that he would destroy my life, that I would lose everyone and anything that I loved. Result? This was the outcome

Moving forward – where was the man who should have been my protector? Good question and one that I am still unable to answer. The reason for this is that I am unable to find the right words to elaborate or explain. Why would my husband take what was happening to me in his stride? Why did he continue working for my Stepfather? Where was the protection that should have been mine, while the ground was being kicked away from beneath me? Result? Complete and utter destruction of my marriage, for me it became unworkable.

It’s not a pretty story for sure but one I was to experience. So where do you go to feel safe within a relationship? The answer for me was to someone I had known all my life. This was a complete alteration from anything that had gone before me. It came in the form of a lady that I had always loved as a friend since childhood. So does that make it easier to shift to the other side for want of a better word? I guess we are back where we started, am I of a certain persuasion? At that time I was asking myself that very question.

Let’s now return to the present day and dissect the above paragraphs. What have I learned from the above experiences? This question I have no trouble in answering. I have learned the hard way that regardless of sexuality, gender, race or creed people are just people. Is it not what’s inside of a person that should be important? Do they treat others in a manner they themselves would like to be treated? Are they there for you when it’s needed? Would they stand toe to toe with you through the rough as well as the good times? Lift your spirit when all you need is a hug; are they the wind beneath your wings?