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Thursday, October 21, 2010

The holidays approach - good news; bad news

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WARNING: This blog is written by an adult survivor of severe childhood abuse. While specific graphic details are not offered, it is entirely possible that this material may be uncomfortable for some readers. If you have any doubt as to whether this may “trigger” you or make you feel unsafe in any way, please STOP reading and click elsewhere. If, while reading this or at any other time, you find yourself feeling unsafe or contemplating hurting yourself, please IMMEDIATELY contact a crisis line or mental health professional. Please – be safe, and be well. If you or anyone you know is having a crisis and feeling alone or potentially unsafe, please consider using one of these resources. You'll notice there are organizations around the globe, including LGBT-targeted groups like PFLAG, and groups for survivors of different kinds of violence. Here's a link to a list of resources. Please know that I care, and many people in your life care. It's a sign of true strength to reach out if you're hurting; people want to offer their support. You are NOT alone.


It's been awhile since I've posted on this blog, or most of my others, either. That is due in great part to the fact that my laptop is dying. I can use it for word processing, working on my 100K word memoir, and using Excel to track the chapters, word count, etc. However, if I go online, even briefly, my whole system freezes and  usually crashes. I've run every anti-viral and anti-malware I can find, but nothing shows up. So, I'm saving up for a new laptop, and I'm using my partner's laptop when she's taking a break or when she's sleeping. This is one of those moments - I took her to the ER yesterday, and they confirmed what I suspected - she has pneumonia. So she's resting quite a bit. Bonus for me - actual online time, more than a few minutes!

So much is going on right now, and any survivor knows that events don't happen in a vacuum. If there is crisis or significant change - even positive change - it tends to resonate with the past to some degree, and we often end up re-visiting truths we've learned, or insights we've reached. Such is the case in my current situation.

The months of November and December tend to be challenging months for me. And really, it's mostly the latter half of November that's rough; the first half has historically been relatively okay. This year, that's changed, because November 11th will be six months since my mother died, and November 13th would have been my mother's 70th birthday.

During the holiday season, my mom and my step-dad drank even more than usual. Countless times I was left alone, freezing, either in a car while Mom was drinking in a bar, or on the floor of her office after she passed out, or even shut away in an unheated storage room while my mother and step-father had a Christmas party to which I was most definitely NOT invited. Getting really cold is enough to trigger me, even without the other aspects added in.

I am preparing for some very hard physical labor, getting ready for a delightful gift from the universe. My daughter, who had been living in Oklahoma with her former fiance, is now visiting a close friend in Alberta (Canada). Canadian immigration officials told Jen she can stay until November 28th, but must leave Canada by then. At that point, Jen will probably be coming home to Seattle.

This is fantastic news! I haven't actually seen or touched my daughter in years, and I miss her terribly. I need to clear out room in our tiny, tiny apartment, so she has room to crash on the futon and still have space for her luggage and such. Leslie would normally assist with some of this, but she was told by the doc who diagnosed her pneumonia that she needs to take it easy for about a month. Well, that leaves me.

I myself am fighting a lingering sore throat and a hacking cough with fever. It's not pneumonia - or at least not yet. I asked the nurse in the ER about my chances of catching the pneumonia bug that Leslie has, and she said something less than 50/50. I really don't have time to be sick, so I'm visualizing my immune system valiantly fighting any and all bacterial or viral invaders. I cannot and will not think of pneumonia as being "inevitable" for me. Our thoughts quite literally shape reality, so I'm very conscious of my thought patterns in this regard.

And speaking of thought patterns, I've been challenged by a newly recovered memory and associated flashbacks that I knew, on some level, were coming. I've been blocking these for a very long time, but it's clearly time for the emotional toxins to surface so they can be washed away. My challenge currently is finding a way to talk about the details - just with my therapist, even. This is so bad that it leaves me feeling dehumanized. And while I need to give voice to this particular atrocity, so that I can begin to grieve and heal, I am hesitant, fearing I will wound the soul of whomever learns of this particular event.

I suppose if I can survive the revelation that one of my alters is a ghost, then I can probably survive this latest detail. But it will take some time and some careful tiptoeing around the emotional minefield, particularly during the upcoming holidays. I remind myself that I've already survived the worst they could do to me; now it's just a matter of processing the memories, feeling the agonizing grief, and moving forward.

The memoir has come along nicely. I've been doing layers of editing, working hard to include all that's relevant and adds to the story, but working to come in at  a maximum of 100,000 words for a final count. The work isn't always easy, but it is certainly compelling. It's as if the writing is moving through me, like a deep and torrential river. I couldn't hold it back even if I wanted to, at this point.

I was deeply disappointed and moved to tears when I learned that Oprah had a multiple on her October 6th show. Nothing against the "housewife multiple," but I think my story is unique and compelling. I have moved beyond mere survival, and offer support to others in whatever way I can. I am ordained clergy, a Reiki Master healer, writer and facilitator, and much more. Perhaps when my book publishes, Oprah's people will give me a call. I've submitted my information to them THREE times previously.

Another idea for a project that has popped up, rather insistently, is doing a series of YouTube videos on life as a multiple. Among singletons, there is a great deal of misconception, stigma and fear surrounding dissociation. Frankly, it's a fascinating subject. Even if just from the mind-body perspective, there is a wealth of information we all can learn from how multiples "work."

So... that's the latest and greatest. Blessings to you for reading this posting. May your day be interwoven with gentle ribbons of laughter.