Blog

They know not what they do

I haven’t posted for a week.  To be honest I just haven’t felt up to it.  My physical ailments have been shockingly bad this week, must be the colder weather, a cliche but true.  The pain in my joints has been unbearable and my medications aren’t working on them.  And my right elbow keeps dislocating in my sleep and now I think a nerve has been trapped so I keep dropping things with my right hand and it throbs all the time.  As for for mental state this week – I think the least said about that the better.  Classic depressive symptoms this week folks,  extreme low mood, no enthusiasm to do anything, prolonged bouts of crying and so irritable I can’t even stand to be with myself!

As usual I had my EMDR therapy session on Wednesday.  Was a belter this week.  This week we processed my earliest memory.   My reaction to this memory came as a complete shock to me, I didn’t realise it had upset me to the extent it had.

Shortly after I was born my mother and father separated.  Now in those days the handling of children in divorce was far different than now.  I say that with experience being the mother of three children who have had to deal with the separation of their parents.  Thankfully their father and I have managed to maintain a strong degree of maturity when it comes to any issues regarding our children.  This is mostly borne out of the fact that we both come from ‘broken’ homes, divorced parents.  Back then things were very different, as you will soon learn.

I was around two years old when this memory takes place.  My elder brother, who was around four at the time and I, were in a room at the local Social Services office where amongst other things, visitation and custody arrangements were fought out.  On this particular occasion my brother and I were sat on chairs in the middle of the room.  As I remember it the room was huge, but most likely this is down to the fact we were so young and scary situations make everything far larger in the mind than they actually are.  My mother was sat one side of the room and my father was sat the other.

This brings me to my birth father.  He was the proverbial Peter Pan, never wanted to grow up and never did, well not that I know of.  Until I was four or five he was in and out of my life bringing chaos with him.  I next saw him when I was almost twenty one and he left me life again almost as quickly as he had entered it.  But that story is for a different day.  As much as he loved us and I believe that deep down he truly did, he was a crap father, but I still wonder on the odd and I mean very odd occasion what became of him.

Anyhow, I digress.  My mother was one side, my father the other and us in the middle.  In front of us on another chair sat a member of Social Services.  I cannot remember anything about them, just that they asked questions of us and we answered them.  Then we were asked the question to end all questions, “who do you want to live with, your mummy or your daddy”.  I mean what the hell?   What kind of a question is that to ask of any child, let alone two small children, neither of which were over five years old.  My mum just started crying, my father started yelling at us that she didn’t love us and that she only wanted us to annoy him.  We chose my mother.   I don’t know why.  Maybe we knew how much she loved us, maybe it was because of what my father was saying.  Maybe it was both.  Ironic then how my life turned out based on that decision.   My therapist asked me if I thought my life would have been better if we had chose my father. That’s a question we will never know the answer too.  I wouldn’t have been abused or witnessed my mother being severely beaten on a regular basis, that is a given.   But, he was after all the proverbial Peter Pan, who knows where we would have ended up.

I am now an orphan, not on paper maybe but in my day to day life I now have no contact with either of my parents.  That may be by choice but it still hurts like hell.  It is my fiftieth birthday in a couple of weeks and this will be the first year I have no contact with my mother.  I can still not fathom how she can treat me the way she has or how she can say the things she has said.  Maybe in time I will understand but I don’t think any amount of time will explain her actions to me.

When someone ‘ghosts’ you

I’ve been ghosted. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s when you text someone who you considered a friend and they don’t answer you, so you text again, wondering whether everything is okay. No answer, so you text again. Nothing. You have been ghosted, cut off, dumped, without explanation of why or what you have done.

This week my ‘best friend’ ghosted me. I have been dumped without any reasoning as to why. I don’t know what I did to warrant such action. I just know our friendship is over. Googling ‘ghosting’ on the internet brings up numerous articles. They all same the same thing, when someone ghosts you it is about them not you. I hope so.

What devastates me more is that it is ten years since I let a friend get that close to me. Ten years ago my best friend passed away suddenly at the age of 39. It took me ten years to reach a place where I was comfortable enough to let someone in. I though I had found someone I could trust but I was obviously wrong.

Having not heard from her for a few weeks I texted her. It has been the school holidays and I know she is always busy. I had texted her a couple of times over the vacation and she had said she would be in touch when the children were back at school.

The thing is in the past she has told me how she disposes of friends she has tired off. First she ignores texts leaving them ‘delivered’ but not read. Then she reads them so you know she has but doesn’t answer. My next step was to phone. She cut me off. Now I’m not talking dozens of texts here. I’m talking a couple. I have absolutely no idea what I did because she won’t tell me. I have racked my brains. You start to make excuses for people who ghost you, maybe they are having a hard time, going through their own stuff. But all it takes is a text saying ‘not up to contacting anyone at the moment’. What kind of a person does that to someone. Not a friend.

I’ve deleted her number. Not for her, for me. That way I won’t be tempted to contact her again. She said I was the best friend she had ever had. Obviously not.

When parenting fails you

I finally lost my mother two weeks ago today. The devastating thing is she hasn’t died. She just doesn’t want me in her life anymore. She cannot cope with the knowledge of what happened to me all those years ago and how it has affected me since.

When I started my EMDR journey I knew it would be difficult. I also knew that I may lose people along the way but I never really believed I would lose my mother as part of my life. Very early on in my therapy I told her what I was doing and not to worry if I kept our contact low key. I reminded her I loved her, always had and always would. I did this for her. I didn’t know what issues my therapy would bring up and certainly didn’t want to say things I couldn’t take back.

Sexual abuse started for me when I was six years old at the hands of my mothers second husband. It ended the day I was called a slut and thrown out of my family home two weeks after I started dating my first boyfriend. I was two months shy of nineteen. I was certainly not a slut, that boyfriend went on to become my husband, father of my three wonderful children.

The first time he abused me I told my mum. I can still remember the day vividly – it’s not one you would forget. As a mother myself I look back now and put myself in the same situation asking myself what I would do. I would take my child in my arms and tell them I believed them, that I loved them and that it wasn’t their fault. Then after exacting severe bodily harm to the perpetrator, I would take my child in my arms and hold them in my arms until they could cry no more. I would seek help for the damage caused

When you fail as a parent

I would do anything for my children. As parents we all want our children to grow up and be well,  healthy adjusted adults. One of the many comments my stepfather made to me in his messages recently was that I was going to ensure my children grew up to be as screwed up as I was. Lord I hope that isn’t true. If it is I would gladly end my life now. But you see at this precise moment in time I think he may be right.

I’m out in my car at the moment – I’ve gone for a drive. It’s 10.00pm. I’m parked up in a public car park watching everyone come and go. I wonder if everyone’s life is as **$$ed up as mind is right now. My eldest came back from University last week. I was frankly scared of him coming home. How sad is that. He has changed so much in the last year. Now I know why. He has stopped taking his medication for depression. He has suffered with depression for over 12 of his 23 years. He has been through a hell of a lot in his own right and that is without having me as a mother. He doesn’t think he can finish his final work. Frankly I couldn’t care less. He is worried about the money. I couldn’t care less about that either. He is far more important. But I have emailed his tutor to see if they can help. So that’s child one.

Then we have child two. He had a breakdown when he was 11, seven years ago. He was being bullied at school. Got that sorted or so I thought. Then during his final year at school he started self harming. Found he had made a suicide plan. Devastated. He underwent private therapy for that. He seems to be okay now. He is doing well at college, has lots of friends but I always wonder when he will dip again.

Finally we have child three. I nearly lost her to meningitis when she was six months old. She was hit with Chronic Fatigue when she was seven after a bout of Glandular Fever. Recovered but Chronic Fatigue came back with avengeance two years ago. She hasn’t been at school since. I have been home schooling and she has a tutor. Her mood seems okay but she has had her moments.

So that’s me, Mum of the Year, aren’t I. Their father says I’m a good mum, that life is responsible for what has happened to them.  If that’s the case why do I believe it’s my fault.  Lord knows I have tried, I do try so hard to not let my own experiences mar their childhood but right now it seems my stepfathers words are coming true.

Pain and Somatization Disorder

 

Dealing with emotional pain on a daily basis is tiring. It eats away at your strength using up every last drop until there is nothing left. Not only is there the actual pain itself but if you are one of those people who fronts it out to those who surround them, you have the double whammy of the energy that uses up too.

Mental illness is draining not only on the mind but the body too. We all know how stress affects us emotionally, mood swings, crying, low mood, lack of motivation to do anything, guilt and suicidal thoughts to name but a few.

But depression can affect us physically in a dramatic way, sometimes more than we know. Several years ago I was diagnosed with Somatization disorder. Whilst a large proportion of my physical symptoms can be attributed to know Clinical illnesses, there are others which cannot be directly linked to known medical conditions.

For example for as long as  I can remember I have suffered from numbness from the waist down; I can stick pins in my legs or run forks down them (not recommended), but I feel nothing, not a thing. On occasion I have even broken bones and not known about it until months or even years down the line. The answer lies in the early development of my brain, more importantly, the emotional stems.

Imagine your brain is a computer and whilst it is being built, it gets wired incorrectly. When as a child you are subjected to traumatic events, your brain, (your computer), gets wired incorrectly too. This then means that stress and unhappiness manifest themselves as physical pain. In Somatization disorder depression is converted into physical symptoms, which in clinical terms have no solid explanation. Yet the symptoms are REAL, they are not in your head.  It is hard for us to understand this when it is happening to us but just as hard for those around us who accuse us of hypochondria or tell us it is all in our minds.

If this is happening to you know that you are not going mad, you are not ‘nuts’ and you are certainly not a hypochondriac.  Your symptoms are REAL otherwise how  would medication work on them.   They are yet another reminder of a past we are forced to carry with us into our future, one we would sooner forget but refuses to be forgotten.

When will it stop hurting?

I don’t know how much longer I can do this and by this I mean life.  I tried starting this blog once before, in April, when I started EMDR therapy.  Managed a few posts then stopped it and deleted everything – I suppose I was  scared my mum would find the site and read everything.  Well that’s not a problem anymore.

I found out during our last meeting nine weeks ago and in many text messages since, exactly what she things of me.  It seems I’m to blame for my stepfather, her second husband, sexually abusing me for 12 years, from age 6 to 18 to be exact.   I should have told her.  But I did, I told her the first time it happened and she asked him if he had done it.  He obviously denied it – well I don’t know many paedophiles who would hold their hand up and say, “yep, you got me”.  She told me to tell her if it happened again.  I didn’t, therefore in her eyes it is my fault.

I always thought she blamed me and I was right.  Her third husband has joined in now, my god you wouldn’t believe the things he has said to me and I thought he was different.  He is “ashamed he ever loved someone like me”.   I really think I would be better off dead.   Maybe it would be better for everyone.  I just want it all to end.

(Picture by Haenuli, South Korea)