imperfections

Catastrophic Imperfections – Or So I Thought

imperfectionsI’m not one to make excuses for myself nor one to blow my own trumpet. This post could be seen as doing both those things. However my purpose for writing is to help me to be less judgemental of my imperfections. I’m hoping it will also help keep things in perspective for me.

In my previous post I was really upset with myself and worried about the repercussions of not being on top of things. After walking out of Jessie’s previous session I’d been asked to come back in to talk with her counsellor. I was convinced of a catastrophic outcome after previous experiences. Before Jessie was diagnosed I was told by a DoCs worker that her issues were due to my bad parenting. Despite that not being the case, that judgement has always stuck with me.

So after chatting about Jessie and things she had brought up, it turns out that ultimately she’s worried about me. I’ve been getting angry and my patience levels aren’t what they had been. The counsellor was concerned too, as I’ve never walked out of a session before, and we’ve dealt with some pretty full-on things over the 6 years we’ve known her. The expectation of hearing if I didn’t do xyz Jessie would be taken, was getting to me. I had to ask if there was any threat of me losing Jessie. The counsellors reaction was something I want to record as a reminder to my critical self.

She gently told me that if I was waiting to hear those words I would’ve been waiting forever as they were never going to be spoken. I was told the only time she’s ever rung DoCs was when I was sitting in her office many years ago, desperate for help. I burst into tears and she told me how sorry she was I’d had that fear hanging over me. She said she’s never had a concern for the safety or wellbeing of Jessie with me, ever. With Jessie having been sectioned so many times we became well known by the ER staff and the CYMHS team. I was reassured that there has never been a imperfectionsconcern by anyone, at any time.

We talked a little about me not coping. I told her I’m angry with myself because I know the parenting stuff yet I’m struggling to get it right lately. I was also upset because I’ve had so much counselling over my lifetime, yet I can still get to this low point. Counselling was supposed to ‘fix’ you I’d believed. So wtf was wrong with me? Again the counsellor’s reaction was not what I’d expected! I thought she’d remind of what I needed to work on. Instead she talked about the effects of trauma and why I’m feeling so overwhelmed. Instead of my imperfections being highlighted, I was heard and validated. What was highlighted were the positive changes in Jessie over the years which she put down to my parenting and love. Thankfully it’s allowed me to stop judging myself so harshly.

Apparently I’m doing really well, even when I feel I’m not. The counsellor told me that there are families there who aren’t coping with things quite small in regards to what I deal with and on my own. She reminded me that our lot is very far from the norm – we’re dealing with some very difficult and stressful realities. There are things about it which are triggering for me, bringing me to ‘why aren’t I fixed?’

The explanation was so rational it could’ve only been blocked out by my delusions of a tune up and off you go, good as new. All of our experiences stay with us. They go towards making up who we are. Counselling helps us process emotions and thoughts in the hope we can move on. But it doesn’t erase the experience, dammit, and the side effects can be triggered by any number of things, at any time.

imperfectionsJessie’s educated via distance ed and doesn’t have a social life unless friends come here. As the counsellor said, we live in a small space where there’s nowhere to get away, no yard to escape to. It’s not normal to live in such close confines with someone 24/7. Being mum, I’m on call 24/7 as well, no respite. What’s normal in that situation is to become frustrated and less tolerant with each other. I do have a tough egg here, and Jessie’s been home consistently for 2 years now. Having regained perspective, we’ve done pretty okay really! She drives me crazy but I love her to absolute bits! It’s gotta be that bond that gets us through, imperfections and all…

Solution?

A solution…that’s a bit like ‘being fixed’ isn’t it?! We’ll see.

I’d had an idea about creating a roster type thing that would give me uninterrupted time to study, write and do my volunteering stuff. The counsellor thought it was a fantastic idea so I’ve written up a trial timetable. The hours might change, it needs to be practical, but Jessie’s on board which is a positive start.

• We’re also going to see the counsellor each fortnight for a while, plus I can see her on my own whenever I need.

• I’ll also read this if ever I have any doubts about my parenting. I won’t doubt a counsellor who’s known us for 6 years. I also need to listen to those who love me instead of those who don’t.

 

imperfections

 

 

mondayitis

Every Day’s Been Giving Me Mondayitis…

mondayitisMondayitis – this is really knocking me around lately. Nearly every day’s feeling like a Monday; with that strong urge to call in to life sick. I’m sliding through the days with the same amount of effort and enthusiasm as the cat on those stairs.

Time is passing in strange increments. It’s been four days since I was in the city, although it feels like a couple of weeks ago. Thirty minutes can drag on for what seems like hours. Hours can pass in mondayitisminutes. I’ve had splitting headaches and my body feels like it does after a seizure, although I’m having 4-5 aura’s a day. My muscles feel fatigued as if I’ve done a tough workout. My brain is hazy and I cannot trust that what I see is what is there. What is a dream and what is reality is not entirely clear. And no – I am not taking drugs!

Last week was spent managing nerves and anxiety before a TV interview Thursday morning. I had a couple of panicked moments over the preceding days, but was able to get it under control before it all went pear shaped. (No offence to pears. I love pears.) The first pounding headache came Thursday night. My mood took a nosedive and all I wanted was bed. The next morning I woke with that mondayitis feeling, along with an aching head that has stubbornly persisted.

mondayitisMy mind was fighting old thought patterns again. I question everything and get down on myself for whatever is happening to me. My neck and back were so sore, and I’m sure the cause of my headaches. I went to the gym on Tuesday thinking I could work it out. It wasn’t to be, although I did feel the shift of energy and faintly felt my strength scrambling to free itself from under that heavy, dark blanket. Happy hormones 🙂

By yesterday afternoon I could’ve chopped my own head off, so went and had a remedial massage. I’d say 45 out of the 55 minutes were pure agony, dished out by a tiny, softly spoken asian woman. I came home and crashed on the lounge. The soup I’d started cooking earlier would have to wait.

Today my muscles are sore from the massage but the headache is finally gone. The pain is so worth the reward. I’ve only had one aura today. I feel human again! So I know that I haven’t been well. I’m not really sure what happened, but it’s an awesome feeling having the fog clearing.

mondayitis

self worth

Being True to Your Self Worth

self worthAfter 46 years I am so glad to finally be aware of my self worth. I seem to be magnet for the takers, manipulators, and users in this world. I’d always blamed myself. I believed that others opinions or treatment of me determined my value. Now I determine my own self worth.

I’m aware of my faults and my shortcomings. There are still aspects of me I’ll continue to improve on. However this no longer diminishes me as a worthy or worthwhile person. If anything, being self aware and able to own my faults with the willingness to change those which I believe will make me a better person, are qualities I respect and admire in others. And so I appreciate them in myself as well.

self worthAlthough acceptance by others is nice, I no longer require it. Having others turn nasty when they can no longer take advantage of me is something I still struggle with though. It’s a personality type, as I’ve mentioned before, that I attract. Thankfully I now understand that they can only use or hurt me if I give them the opportunity. I am becoming quite adept at recognising the red flags, but I still need to work on my timeframe for getting away. To prevent the anger caused by the actions of such self serving humans, the first red flag needs to be my exit point at this stage.

To be able to simply cut off from these situations is my goal. Whether my personality type is capable of that in all cases, only time will tell I guess. I’m not a wallflower by any means, so maybe it will be a case of finding that balance between speaking up and moving on. People’s arrogance and expectation that I value them more than myself, astounds and angers me.

My self worth came slapping me ’round the head recently. I stopped volunteering for a passive aggressive woman who seemed to think her little venture should now be my top priority. Moderating a brand new group and accepting any new members 5 days a week, and make some edits, was what I agreed to do. Easy. But every day, messages or group chats with her other volunteer, which took way more time out of every day. A drama was made out of everything, it was pointless and draining! I was meant to have undisturbed days away at Mollymook, but had a long message my first morning there. That was the last straw for me.

self worthUnfortunately she had no respect for anything else her volunteers had going on in their lives. Before I went away she wanted me to call her. I said I would if I had time but I was quite busy. That was unacceptable so she got her other volunteer to ask could I contact her instead. When I first started she got me to do the same when someone who hadn’t even begun volunteering with her yet, wasn’t responding to her messages. I’m happy to help those who are helping themselves. I find it arrogant and egotistical to want things and then expect others to volunteer their time do the all the work because you refuse to learn the things you don’t know, or claim not to ‘have time’. But people like this are unable to look at themselves, and always place blame elsewhere!

I used to believe I was cursed, and these people were put in my life as punishment. This surely had to mean I wasn’t a worthy person. Now I’m kinda looking forward to the next one to try out the lesson I just learned. And that is to trust in that first alarm bell and act on it.

Each of us has our own story to tell. They’re all different, even the same ones. People’s perceptions vary. So when deciding on our own self worth, our perception is the only one that truly matters.

self worth

rape

Rape: Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

rapeI’m being brave. I’m sure some of you will wonder why I’m sharing this. Why would I want anyone to know? Your rape and trauma stories aren’t something you share with everyone. A big part of me agrees with you, for reasons I’ll explain, but part of me wants to challenge that. I read so many blogs where amazing people share openly and honestly about themselves. I admire them so much, and I take something away from each one I read. Yet for me, I have a different mindset.

That different mindset is what tells me these are dirty secrets, shrouded in shame, blame and guilt. After the rape in 1994 I believed it was my fault. I must’ve done something wrong for this to happen. My belief was that everyone would think that too. All it took was one person to ask “why didn’t you…blah blah?”, and it confirmed that belief to myself. It was this second assault that cemented the belief, and made me believe there also had to be something wrong with me.

I’d been diagnosed with Depression after the rape. The PTSD diagnosis was given after the assault. In 2015, Major Depressive Disorder diagnosis, due to a colourful mix of things I’d say!

In 1997 I was held up at gunpoint at my front door. It was late one Friday night, after I’d come home from studying after work. My friends dropped me around the corner and I walked home as usual. I lived in a dark, old unit block, with no light in the small entrance-way. As I was putting my key into the lock, I felt cold metal against the back of my head. I froze. I knew it was a gun against my skull. A man told me not to scream and to open the door. We got inside, and he told me he would shoot me if I didn’t *have sex* with him.

I was in a state of terror and panic, but I was NOT going to allow anyone to rape me again. Quoth the Raven “NEVERMORE.”

rapeNot knowing what to do, I spun around grabbing at the gun. I don’t really remember what happened in the struggle, but I was pushed down onto the lounge. I remember him saying to me, “so you gonna fuck me now”, with the gun pointed at me again. Strangely feeling at peace, I told him no, that he’d have to shoot me. I believed I was going to die. I waited for what felt like forever, however probably only a split second, for him to pull the trigger. When he didn’t, I screamed like I’m sure I never have before.

The next thing I knew the Police were there. My upstairs neighbour who I’d never met, had called them when she heard me scream. What she told Police, and told me later, has stuck in my mind. She’d rung because she’d first thought it was me laughing (I can be loud), but realised very quickly that I wasn’t. She said she knew something was very wrong. I’ve always hoped she’s had some fabulous karma come her way. I’ve experienced humans turning a blind eye. I didn’t expect anyone’s help.

rapeI wasn’t in a good way. I’d been sure I was going to die. But I was still alive. I was seeing faces. I was in a state of shock I think. The Police rang a really close friend who lived a few streets up. My dear friend, the Beer Fairy, came and picked me up and I stayed the night there. She sat up and had a few stiff drinks with me before bed. Work the next day was looming. On Saturday’s I managed the clinic that my friend managed during the week, so she was going to come in with me. I didn’t want to go, but she wasn’t going to allow me to fall in a heap.

Sleep wouldn’t come. Every time I closed my eyes I saw faces. The dark was messing with my mind. Fear took over. I was never more grateful to see the morning light. And never more grateful for my Beer Fairy.

To cut a long story short, it turned out to be another close friend of ours from work who did this. Police searched his house but no weapon could be found. I was advised to stay away from him. Rather difficult when you work at the same college and need to interact with each other. I’d freeze with a feeling of fear and dread whenever he came into the office. I didn’t even have to see him, however that feeling would take over and I knew he was there. I loved that job, and was half way through a Diploma of Homoeopathy, but had to walk away.

Not long before I resigned, I also moved out of my unit. I’d begun leaving my blinds down all the time as I was seeing faces in the windows. I didn’t feel safe there anymore.

20 years later I now understand PTSD. I’ve been putting all my symptoms down to being weak and pathetic for a long time. Jessie’s diagnosis started my education. I can recognise her symptoms. I wouldn’t ever say she is weak or pathetic! Or anyone else with it either. And I thank my fellow bloggers for making me think maybe I’m not either! It won’t change how I live my day to day life, but I certainly understand myself a lot better. Maybe I’ll start being a little kinder to myself. I know why I have the mental struggles I do. I know why going anywhere for the first time alone, sees me waking every hour from 3am, freaking out about going. It’s an effort to push through, and something no-one sees.

Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.” – Edgar Allen Poe

I choose to challenge the Raven, like all the other bloggers I admire. Hopefully Jessie will see that she is a lion too.

A lion is stronger than a Raven… 

rape

devil

The Devil Has Many Disguises

devilWe’ve met the devil once before. His human form is an Irish truck driver, using many aliases. He sexually assaulted Jessie when she was 8. Then after I left that same year, out of spite, reported to police that I’d asked him for money so I could sell her online as a prostitute. I had my computer seized and was investigated. And for those who don’t know me, that is not something I could even think of, let alone be any part of. The whole thing rocked me for years, but it just shows who he is.

Whilst my website has opened many doors for me, it provided ‘Wayne’ (his latest alias) the perfect cover to fool me into conversation for a short while last night. Pretending to like my blog and comment on how rough things have been, then tell me a worker of his just committed suicide, was the perfect ploy.

Normally I would have ignored messages from someone I didn’t know. These days I’ve been talking to many people though, and I don’t want to ignore anyone reaching out or showing support. However I will be more careful in the future. I’m in a different place now. We’re safe and I’m not shutting down again. ‘Wayne’ has no power over me and his history is recorded with police. While I feel many things about this contact with me, I refuse to allow intimidation to be one of them. Screw that!!

devilI read somewhere last year that he’d been arrested and charged with fraud in 2015 after ripping people off in a building scam. The devil in another disguise. That article revealed two other aliases he was using – one of which I recognised. Using that alias, ‘Rory’ had messaged me five times over 2014 and 2015. I made a phone call the next day…

In our worst times when police were here two or three times a week, one officer in particular took us on. His first visit brought out the father in him. Seeing Jessie so out of control, needing her head knelt on to stop her spitting and biting, then carried out bound feet and wrists, tugged at his heart strings too. Jessie had been interviewed before, but he took another report, and this time against the real Rory. He’s checked in on us, and will continue do to so, so I called him. As it had been over 12 months since the last message, he made a report and we hoped that would be it. If there was any more contact he told me to report it.

This morning I went into the police station and did just that. I made it very clear to ‘Wayne’ that I knew who he was and he was never to contact me again. The Police will also back that up with a phone call to him.

devilWhat astounds me is that it didn’t take much investigation to make the connection I’d actually been chatting with the devil himself. Did he really want me to find out who he was? Did he really think I’d want to have anything to do with him after what he’s done?? Or did he think I was too stupid to figure it out? My gut feeling proved to be correct again.

Last night my mind was just a blur of spinning thoughts. So fast I couldn’t grab a thread to even put into words how I felt or what I was thinking. The only thing I knew was that I had a rock in my stomach and I felt sick. Extremely sick. I still can’t grasp how he could have the nerve to contact me. Or why he’d be stalking me in the first place. Could he insanely have no idea how I’d feel after he sexually assaulted my daughter and upturned our lives?? Too much.

However, as I’ve learnt, all those thoughts are in the past. The past is gone. The future is my choice and I choose to leave those thoughts where they are – behind me. I’m in control this time.

The devil cannot hurt us anymore, we’re stronger than you now.devil

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