When you reach for the brake but it’s far too late.

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So Thursday came and went. It’s just like any other day really except Thursdays are my day where I don’t have to hide my emotions and feelings. For an hour or so I can talk freely and openly, I can cry, I can laugh, I can dissociate, I can be scared and I can be angry. I can be young Me, I can be old Me.

Thursday is my “survivors in transition” counselling day.

I’m not sure I’m entirely comfortable with being a “survivor”, I’m not comfortable with being a “victim” either. I just don’t like the need to label and have to compartmentalise everything to try to make neat sense of things. Anyway what’s in a label / name, that’s just a personal gripe!

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I think I trust my counsellor Laura. I’ve been seeing her since the beginning of June now and she is very calming and patient with me during my sessions. She also spoke with me a couple of times before she was allocated to me when I dropped into the centre with no appointment. She gave her time up for me when I was upset and others didn’t want to listen. I really appreciated that.

Laura always asks how I am. I always tell her I’m ok, she then ask’s with a sly grin“but how are you really?” and our session begins.

My list of updates was fairly long, she’d only been gone 2 weeks! I wanted to inform her that I’d spoken to my sister about my abuse and that just leaves my brother to speak with, my friend and wedding photographer had been killed in a road accident and I felt terribly guilty, my uncle had been admitted to hospital, my hands and legs had a weird pins and needles type scenario going on (not that she needed to know or could do anything!!) and that I’d done the screening for dissociative identity disorder and got the results but I didn’t / couldn’t want to look at them on my own.

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Laura explained to me she had suggested a diagnosis for DID after speaking with her senior session counsellor at the practise. She explained that both of them were furious at how I had been treated by the police and social services.

I could tell that Laura was angry about how her patient (me!) had been treated, spoken about, lied to and bullied. I was really, really humbled. For a lot of the public services, everything is either black or white. Everything is either good or evil, everything is either right or wrong. There’s no middle ground, “There’s no grey” as Laura explained “But here I am working with you in this very grey area of abuse and mental health”.

Here was someone in a professional capacity willing to stand up for me and I was quite overwhelmed to be honest. I wanted to give her a big hug.

“Getting a diagnosis could really help your court case” she explained to me “But you didn’t hear that from me ok?”

Did I bite her hand off for assistance? Did I beg Laura to help me with my court case and try to explain things from someone professionally treating me for years of brutal sexual abuse? Did I say “Lets go and get this diagnosis then and everything is sorted!”

No I didn’t. I calmly told Laura that “if the powers that be can look me in the eye and lock me away for crimes they say I have done but I haven’t done, if in their hearts they think that it is the best for society, best for my young children and best for my wife and family to lock me up then I will not argue. If they can go to bed and sleep at night satisfied they got it right without having all the facts then I will not fight them right now because I don’t have the strength too”.

For once Laura looked like she was crying rather than me. Her eyes had welled up and I think she knows I have had enough and I think she was upset for me.

After today, I really do trust Laura.

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Digging in the Dirt

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I’m writing this the day before it gets published. I normally write and publish on the same day. Just my little thing I do so I know that my thoughts and feelings are truly what I’m feeling at the time. The day this comes out though I have a counselling session and after a couple of weeks break, I imagine it’s going to be hard.

I’m already feeling guilty that Laura will be coming back from Holiday hopefully nice and refreshed and then I step back into her world with all my issues. I don’t like burdening people with my problems, that’s just who I am. But I think most people are generally like that aren’t they?

I am gradually telling my family one to one about what happened. The last person I spoke with was my baby sister (well she’s 34!). We spoke for 3 hours where I explained things to her. She was unsurprisingly supportive and upset about what we talked about. One poignant moment though was when she said “I don’t know how, but I always had a feeling something had happened to you”.

One of the questions raised by my family is “Why didn’t / couldn’t you tell us about the abuse that happened? We could have helped, we should have known”.

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It’s such a hard question to answer as an adult and makes me think and question myself even more as to why’s and what ifs’. And to give an answer means I have to think back to events, scenarios and people I don’t want to think about.

I’ve had so many questions for myself the last few years and it’s been such a paradox of events. The happiest moments of my life emotionally have occurred over the last 3 years, my two children have been born and I’ve married the person who, without a shadow of a doubt, has saved my life with her warmth, kindness and love. My wife’s heart and smile, even during difficult times, can light a million stars and colour a million rainbows.

But all these moments conflict greatly with spiralling continually downwards into an abyss, I’m reaching out to grab at these happy emotions but I’m only able to pull back dark and dangerous feelings and memories. It’s been so overwhelmingly difficult the last few years and until recently I’d done nothing about it.  I’m so guilty of not doing enough to help myself and ignoring the warning signs that it makes me feel even more guilty. That downward spiral.

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The point to all this? I don’t know, I’m anxious about seeing Laura again and delving into the past to try to get “better”. But my brain knows that you can’t just get better from years of being fucked around with by someone everyone loved and laughed about. To quote my mum “He loved you children so much”.  So again a little paradox there for me to work on as my Mum doesn’t know who it was, all she knows is he loved us all so much. Some much more than others as I know 😦

Where too next is the question we are asking ourselves? We need to find that metaphorical ladder to try to climb out of this dark hole. I just didn’t find one for sale on Amazon though.

Operation: Mindcrime

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I so wish my Grandma was still around. She was one of the people I turned to during troubled times when I was younger. I loved her and I miss her.

I’ll never know if she fully understood what I was trying to explain to her when I spoke about being touched and molested. I was very young, Grandma would have been in her 60’s and I can’t imagine as an adult now how that conversation would have gone?

One conversation I do remember having with Grandma is explaining that I’d be moving over to New Zealand. I’d not long returned from 3 weeks in this amazing place and I knew this was the place for me. It was the the place I could escape too, be free from anyone ever asking me questions and be so so far away nothing bad could ever happen to me again.

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The strength, energy and confidence that whole journey gave me was incredible. Being so far away from home, family and friends maybe a frightening prospect to some but it was invigorating for me. We did it, and we did it all on our own.

I didn’t want to return home and return to the unhappy me, I really had enjoyed spending time with the happy me, the happy me was as a really decent chap!

I am lucky really. I’ve had some amazing opportunities in life and I’ve always focused my brain intensely to try to take them. I’d closed and locked the doors on the dark moments from part of my childhood and they remained securely locked for a long time.

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When life finally caught up and the locks were undone I simply wasn’t prepared for what we had kept behind those doors.

Previously when things did get hard I’d always be told “The past is the past” my strong me always said. “We can beat this and I’ll be there and I’ll guide you” the strong me told myself.

But now that strong person is nowhere to be seen, the weak me can only focus on rape, violation, mistrust and feelings of being alone and vulnerable. Why oh Why, when I need to be strong is he nowhere to be seen? I don’t understand, I really need him.

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Does it look good from where you stand?

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I needed this weekend to come. After a very tough week a weekend means I have time to spend with my children and try to be some kind of Dad again. Boy did I need it, the difference in my mental state from being alone to being with loved ones is quite dramatic. It is like I’m a different person, the negative thoughts go, the reasons for being alive come flooding back and when I smile with my children it is a genuine smile of happiness.

In comparison the rest of the week feels like solitary confinement, it feels like a battle to keep going and everything is either a very high or a very low. I find myself disappointed with myself because I yearn for an average, boring week. I want to worry about things like what I’m cooking the kids for dinner, what I’m going to do about the weeds in the garden, what shorts I’m going to wear on a particular day.

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But then it registers again, I’m not home. I haven’t been allowed home since October 25th 2016. One week I’m a perceived danger to my children, the following week I’m no danger at all, one week I’m threatened with community service, the next I’m threatened with a prison sentence. The way that authorities twist your words staggers me, I feel a constant battle with the authorities because no-one is listening. Well they do listen in fairness, but they hear just what they need to hear and then they don’t want to hear anymore.

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It’s a harsh reminder to me that everyone’s out for themselves, everyone’s out to cover their own arses and fuck the consequences – that’s someone elses’ issue.

I know you should never have regrets but my one and only regret in life now is that I never officially reported being sexually abused to the police. I spoke to a policeman about it, he sent me home. Yes it was a different time in the 80’s I appreciate that, but he sent me home.  I did nothing further with it and so there’s no official record. Police talk nowadays for we don’t believe you.

It’s the hardest thing in the world to take when people don’t believe what happened to you, when it’s the authorities themselves it makes you feel even more worthless than you already do.

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Forever comes to an end

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Before I start with ‘depression daily’ (it’s a joke but I like it!!) I found a brilliant cover of The Killers doing The Smiths “There is a light that never goes out”. Thank you Brandon Flowers (He touched my wife once you know. Legally I mean!!).

And yes I know the Smiths can be melancholy and depressing but I love that song for many personal reasons 🙂

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While my counsellor Laura has been away on holiday, my reading of choice she has left me with has been “Managing Flashbacks”. It’s hardly Lord of the Rings granted but can I please ask you kind people, are you successfully at the stage where you can and are managing your flashbacks? I’m very early on in trying but I just can’t do it, I don’t understand it and it’s upsetting me that I can’t. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (that’s angry english speak for fuck it!)

This is what the book tells me –

“The first step is for you to notice and understand what happens to you while you experience a flashback. Think back to the last time you had a flashback or alternatively, wait until you experience the next one and try to remember the following and note them down

  • When did it happen?
  • What else was going on when it started?
  • Was anybody else with you?
  • Can you recognise any similarities between your current situation and the situation that you were transported to in your flashback?
  • Can you remember when you have felt this way before?
  • What do you think triggered it? (For example – thoughts, smells, sounds, pictures, feelings, tastes or reminders such as conversations, media or special events such as anniversaries.)”

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My problem is I don’t see them coming yet and I don’t remember why they came in the first place so I can’t easily link them meaning I can’t easily manage them. I also don’t constantly have a notepad attached to my arm so I can’t note things down quickly all the time before they are lost. Perhaps I’m just giving up far too easily? I don’t know and it’s very frustrating that is all.

Seriously though, anyone mastered this? Do flashbacks go once they have been “dealt with” so to speak or are they forever following you around like a dark figure ready to pounce?

Thank you in advance 🙂

Drink up, dreamers, you’re running dry

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A very hard week this week mental wise.

Why I ask, do people tell me things have to get worse before they can get better? My little brain struggles with conundrums like this! Why can’t I just skip the worse part and jump straight to the better 🙂 Simple!

I learnt this week about the untimely death of my wedding photographer friend Neil who was killed in a road traffic accident. The news hit both my wife and I really hard despite only meeting the guy a few times in person. Neil was a kind man with a young family and first and foremost all our thoughts go out to his family. He photographed my wedding in 2014 and will forever remain part of that day in history.  Rest well Neil.

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Awoke this morning around 4 AM. I don’t know if I was dreaming or having a flashback but it wasn’t pleasant and I awoke very disoriented and scared. Really wanted someone to hold my hand and tell me everything was OK but there’s no-one with me at the moment so it’s just not an option – being alone is all my fault though so I can’t complain.

I lay here and hope someone will text or call at some point and ask if I’m alright, but apart from my wife and my mum, no-one ever does. But I appreciate that the world and life just keeps spinning on regardless.  

Woah Mr negative is back out today in force!!!!!

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I really feel like I’m losing the battle this week for sure and all I want to keep doing is sleep as I’m so stupidly tired despite the fact I’m hardly physically active at all. My arms and hands have gone numb typing this as if they aren’t mine anymore – what the fuck’s that about?!

I’m being told not to “do anything silly and hand all of that power back to your abuser”. I understand that but………………

Anyone else just had “one of those weeks??” (Rhetorical question really!)

 

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Life begins at 11 years old

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Crikey there’s a lot of negativity in my writing at the moment. I’ve just read back a few posts and noticed that!!

I think that a lot of the negativity comes down to not being able to openly and easily explain my real feelings and emotions to people without turning into a blubbering wreck and losing control! Some of the negativity I know is down to frustration, some down to disappointment.

But life isn’t always a disappointment, far from it. When I write my positives list it’s still full of massive moments and achievements that I can and should be proud of.  I’m going to reflect a bit over the next few posts and try to find a happy space.

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As a physically still young but maturing boy at 10 years old I had not long returned from a holiday in the United States and Canada to see my Grandfather and Uncle respectively. I remember my mum was really upset to watch me jet off on my own, but I wasn’t phased at all. It was an escape for me and so far away from where I could be reached.

I will never forget that sense of freedom and safety. I had an amazing time in Chicago and Canada and everyone loved me, and I mean really loved me. All of my uncles and aunts and cousins spoiled me rotten and I didn’t need to do anything in return to receive a simple hug and cuddle. I was loved for just being me.

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Any return from holiday has a sense of anti-climax and disappointment about it and even then as a 10-year-old, with my Mum, Dad and brother waiting for me back home, I didn’t want to return. Not because I didn’t want to see my family, I just had a blissful month of not worrying about being touched or having to touch an adult in ways I didn’t want to do. It really helped cleanse me a bit.

Upon my return home to the UK, another big adventure was just around the corner.

I turned 11, started secondary school and had welcomed the arrival of a beautiful baby sister.  We soon moved house as a family and I will never forget the excitement I had about this potential fresh start and new beginning.

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I remember going to look around the empty house with my Dad and my Brother and how huge it seemed.  How light and welcoming the rooms seemed, how the garden was perfectly split in two with a large, round pond, sitting proudly in the middle. I ran through the house with my little Brother, exploring each of the large rooms, chasing each other around the pond and looking through the massive garage in bewilderment. I prayed that we could all live here safely.

My Dad always worked very hard and he bought the house, a place that seemed magical to me. I always believed in secret that my Dad got that home just for me.

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My first Christmas at our new magical home resulted in my Dad getting me my first computer, a ZX Spectrum 48k +. This was perfect timing, almost as if my Dad knew that I could escape safely into my computer world for hours on end without any person bothering me there. I had learnt to dissociate from the world at an early age and so to put myself into my TV was very easy.

I so loved that computer and that year 1984. My abuse stopped, I was 11 years old, we moved house, I changed Schools and here I was roaming a giant mansion inside my computer world / head in the game Jet Set Willy.

I was so, so happy, I felt in control of myself at last and thought that no-one would ever have to know what had happened to me.

My life begins at 30 11 years old.

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Red Rain Is Falling Down

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I want to start by saying what an amazing community there is here on WordPress. You all need a virtual pat on the back for sharing your stories and your lives so openly and honestly.

It might seem so very obvious to say, but what you can find when you really and truly open your eyes is quite overwhelming. It’s a real therapy for me to read your stories, experiences and advice.

I’m very slowly learning to accept that what happened to me wasn’t all my fault, I’m learning that the shame of being sexually aroused as a child was just a natural reaction that I couldn’t have done anything about anyway. I didn’t know that at the time. All I knew was that I felt dirty, perverted and sick with myself.

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It’s the middle of the week and it’s raining outside – it’s a typical summers day in the UK. I love watching the rain though, those pure tears from the sky falling to wash and cleanse everything down below.

I love the quietness that occurs when it rains when everything just seems to stop, I can close my eyes and listen to the rain and go far, far away to my safe place, just like I used to.

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Nowadays as an adult I can also choose to open my eyes if I want and watch the rain with no fear of being grabbed around the throat and told not to dare open my eyes.

As I look out of the window, I can’t help but feel that a rainy day, sat on my own, seems like the perfect day to end it all and do away with all the pain, confusion and hurt.

It’s almost like no-one will notice you slipping away on a rainy day, everyone will be preoccupied waiting for the rain to stop falling so that they can continue with their own daily business and normal service can be resumed.

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Rainy days are often thought of as depressing and sad, cold and lonely. But I love rainy days and I love that I can look out at them freely with no fear of repercussions anymore. They strip away the fear of dying for me and make the day very pure, simple and natural.

Peter Gabriel – Red Rain

Just let the red rain splash you,

Let the rain fall on your skin,

I come to you, defenses down, 

With the Trust of a Child

 

 

Do look back in anger

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There’s some graphic details today – be warned, it’s not appropriate for everyone.

For the last few days I’ve been pretty bloody angry. I very rarely do angry, I tend to do bottling up and dealing it with it later as my method of control. Both my Mum and my Counsellor have told me that “you will be very angry about your abuse at some stage”. But to be honest, I’m not even angry about that at the moment, yes I’m still hugely confused about being abused but I’m not angry about that yet.

As suggested by my counsellor, I did a screening test for dissociative identity disorder, and ladies and gentleman the scores are in! The crap thing is I even scored down on some of the questions (don’t ask me why – guess I was scared of being truly honest about myself).

The results certainly made for interesting reading, in fact the summary might as well have just said “yep, you have serious mental health issues you messed up boy!”

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I guess in a way should I be surprised? I mean having a man force his penis down your throat to choke you when you’re around 5 years old or ejaculate on your face and finding it funny, that’s going to catch up with you at some point right? I’m bitterly angry with myself that I can remember these stupid senseless things but I can’t remember what I did last Wednesday? That’s not a normal mind that can do that is it??

What really then happens to your mind when your counsellor says that the abuse likely started at a lot younger age than you remember?

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They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but what happens to you when someone kills part of your childhood? What happens to you when he dies with your secrets and you are left to burden the shame, the guilt, the memories, the explanations,  the flashbacks, the trauma and the attempted recovery?

I’ll tell you what happens, it’s exhausting and devastating, that’s what it is.

But Lifes’ not fair, they say.  You just dust yourself down and pick yourself up they say.

When you are tired of life being unfair and you can’t pick yourself up anymore, where too next I ask you?

A brand new day today, new challenges with new opportunities. So although I may be losing the fight in my mind at the moment I won’t and can’t ever let this beat me.

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