I need to do this, even when I don’t want to.

1). We’re having thunderstorms today. I love thunderstorms, as long as there are no tornados.

2). My daughter seemed happy today, like a normal teenager. It makes me glad to see that.

3). I’m reading a very good memoir. It’s sad, but well-written. And I know the author works through a lot of her grim issues before the end.

4). I finished up this semester of graduate school, and I’m waiting for my grades. I worked so, so hard, and I think I did pretty well.

5). The author I sent interview questions to replied back to me with answers. Her kindness gave me a lift.

I made it through, again. It was tough.

Love,

Hope

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This is the first Mother’s Day since I cut off my parents, and I can’t really say I miss anything about them because of the holiday. I never sent her a card or flowers or anything, anyway. I’ve disliked her as long as I can remember. Well, as a child I didn’t hate her or anything, but as an adult? The older I got the more I realized what she was, and what she did. Or didn’t do – which was protect me.

Sunday I unfortunately forgot to take my morning antidepressant meds. By evening I was back in “I should never have been born” mode. Scary how dependent I am on medication. Without it I don’t think I’d be here, children or no children.

But speaking of them, I got a very nice breakfast on Mother’s Day, as well as a some pretty flowers. I had a luxurious nap in the afternoon, too. We didn’t go anywhere, but that’s fine by me. I’d usually rather stay home, anyway.

Do I have something deep and profound to say today? Nothing I don’t say in my head all the time. It’s a battle we all fight, if we’ve been through sexual abuse.

I wish I could say I forget it some days. I don’t, but that doesn’t mean it’s horrific every day. It varies. If you’ve been through the healing process you’ll know what I mean. Some days I’m so angry I could put my fist through a wall (well, not without breaking every bone!). Other days I’m so sad. Some days devastatingly so. On others, I can deal with it. I hate it, I feel the unfairness of it, but I can deal with it as long as it’s compartmentalized as part of my past.

As I said in an earlier post, I’ve been working through this for two years now, with psychiatric and therapeutic help. My doctor – psychologist – is concerned I’m not feeling any more happiness than I did when we started. She tells me to appreciate the little things. And I try to. The daffodils that popped up in spring were pretty, and the flowering trees are, too.

I love photography, so I took photos of them. Photography takes my mind off things and helps me direct my energy toward something positive. So does writing. I rely more on those two things than the simple acts of seeing little, positive things.

I’ve been depressed all my life, as far back as I can remember. I don’t know anything else. It’s only been recently that I discovered not everyone feels such a black, oppressive weight. I knew some people were happy, some excessively so. And those people annoy me.  But I didn’t know how far removed I was from “normal” mood swings. My husband had to tell me not everyone thinks about death every week, that not fearing death – but rather having no fear at all, because with it comes oblivion – is abnormal.

I don’t know what’s to fear about it. Not existing doesn’t scare me. In fact, it brings me a measure of solace. Imagine not having to fight the demons everyday! Not having to live with all the years of your life you were in a black hole, and not being able to escape being in a constant, grey funk. Grey’s the best I can do. Grey with occasional lighter colors, when I’m engaged in doing something I like, when I’m as close to happy as I can get. But those times are so short, so fleeting.

My doctor thinks I’m resistant to being happy, that being depressed is so normal for me I’m more comfortable in that state. Some part of me thinks I’ll lose part of me if I’m suddenly happy. Another problem is I don’t trust happiness. It won’t last. Ups and downs are inevitable, but my doctor tells me the lows won’t be as low as the are now. I’m trying to comprehend that, trying to imagine peeping through my blinds, seeing it’s sunny outside, and not closing the blinds against the light.

I don’t believe in the light. I don’t believe happiness is possible, or if it is, that isn’t not sustainable. So, a big part of me says, “Why hope?”

I have a long way to go yet.

Love,

Hope

Being abused at age 4 or 5, I don’t remember what not feeling ashamed, angry, depressed and violated feels like. I don’t know what it’s like to have parents you don’t fear, to be safe in my own house, in my own room.

How different would I have been had this not happened? I’ve spent life socially stunted. I can express myself in writing, but not in words. If I could have anything on earth I’d stay home, earn a living as a writer, and not have to deal with the outside world unless I honestly wanted to.

Working, though part-time, in such a public place as a library, I’m OUT THERE for the world. I like helping people in a one on one way, like on the reference desk when someone needs something. But in the staff room? It’s full of people, so I clam up. I only speak when spoken to.

I’ve always been like that. I never once raised my hand to say anything in school. NEVER, and I mean elementary through college. Again, if asked I’d respond, but only the bare minimum. Only when I write am I free to say what I think and feel.

I’ve had a fantasy for a while now. I’d like to shave my head, leave where I live, and go join a Buddhist monastery that accepts women. It seems pretty obvious why I want to be secluded, why I want to shun the outside world and live an interior life. I honestly think if I outlive my husband this is what I’ll do. I know of a monastery in Nova Scotia that has female “monks.” That’s where I’d like to live out my life.

In the meantime, I want to be Elizabeth Gilbert. I want someone to pay me to go meditate on life, living in India, Italy and wherever else she was. Indonesia?

But reality. Damned reality. I’m married. I have a family. I have a job, a Master’s degree to finish. Life ties me here.

Would I feel this way if I hadn’t been molested, hadn’t lost my virginity so young? I’ll never know, will I. And that’s the question that gnaws at me. All those years stunted. All my childhood lost. No innocence, no safety, no ability to relate to other children, lest they find out.

And I am very, very angry.

Love,

Hope

My therapist, my husband, everyone who cares, insist things will one day be so much better for me. That’s hard to see some days. Other days I can believe it will get a little easier, though I’ll never forget. Other days I can’t believe it can ever be true.

Recently, I was going through digital photos on my hard drive and came across some with my parents in them. I felt physically ill. I could not look through those photos. A big part of me wanted to just delete them. Should I have? But my husband tells me, the kids may one day want those.

Maybe. But they make me feel like throwing up.

When I look around my house I see so many things they’ve given us through the years, trying to bribe me into forgetting and letting them stay in our lives. Our kitchen remodel was helped by a big check from them. Our living room tables were bought by them. Our lawnmower, and other things here and there.

I feel like a whore who took money to pay for the sex I had to endure.

I need to learn to forgive myself for that. Though I’m two years into therapy, I haven’t gotten all that far. But I am far enough to know my doctor would tell me not to brutalize myself for the past, but to look forward. That can be so hard to do.

Beating up on myself is second nature. I can’t give myself credit for much of anything. I’ve been working out a lot lately, but if I skip a day I hate myself. I know it’s wrong, but it feels impossible not to think that.

I do give myself credit for working out enough to find in clothes I couldn’t wear a month ago. That’s a great thing. But for me, if I’m not perfect I suck. I have a perfect 4.0 in graduate school, but if I should dip down a bit I can’t allow self hatred to overcome me. I’m juggling a lot. I work, I have a family, I write, I have a family … I maintain two blogs now, plus I read and review books. Yet, I think I should be doing more, that my life hasn’t made a real impact, that I haven’t “saved the world,” as my doctor would tease. “What,” she says, “you haven’t discovered the cure for cancer yet?!”

I get the point, but it’s easier to say than do.

This week her assignment was for me to write a letter to myself from God, or to my depression, or write from their perspective to me. I see her on Thursday, but I haven’t done any of this yet. I’ll have to do it tonight, to stay on track.

I’ll try.

Two years, and I still feel like an emotional wreck. It takes so much time. It’s so unfair I had to undergo the abuse, then it’s wrecked my life in so many ways. What kind of person would I be if the abuse had never happened?

I will never know.

Love,

Hope

I’m trying. I’m really trying to find my daily (or nearly daily) positives.

1). I worked out again today, and feel better for it.

2). I set up an interview with a famous author, and will be sending her my questions later today or tomorrow.

3). I started working on my last grad school paper of the semester.

4). So far I haven’t isolated today, unless you count going to work out.

5). Hmm… I’m going to see my doctor tonight, despite the fact I didn’t do my homework. And I’ll admit that to her without making up an excuse.

Love,

Hope

I have bipolar disorder, in my case probably stemming from childhood trauma. In my case, it’s the depressive kind, the “I want to die,” “I should never have been born” form. I don’t yell at people, or get up at midnight to clean house or anything.

But one thing I used to do, pre-meds, was take on way too many tasks, feeling more ambitious than a team of people. I couldn’t say no to anyone, no matter what they asked, and in  my case that meant writing reviews or columns or whatever.  And that time spent either reading for reviews or actually writing kept me away from my family. I isolated myself then, and I continue to have a severe problem with that.

I’ve been going to graduate school for a couple years now. Homework’s been a great excuse to isolate. Now that I’m coming near the end of that I’ve started reviewing again. I love doing that, so I know it’s not just to isolate. But one thing I do is sleep a lot. I know that’s isolating. As soon as I bring my youngest child home from school I nap. Then, after I get my middle child I sleep ’til dinner time, curled up in my bed.

I get away from people whenever I can. It’s an urge I fight, but there’s nothing I love more than being alone, under the blankets, asleep.

Bipolar is another result of child abuse. It doesn’t happen to everyone, but if it’s in your family – as it’s in mine – and you go through hell, sometimes it gets triggered. But my form isn’t the major up and down kind.  Thank goodness for that. It’s treatable, and for now under control. When I feel it slipping back I tell my psychiatrist, and he titrates my meds.

So far, so good on that, but the isolation thing is a problem.

I see my therapist tonight. I didn’t do any of the homework she gave me from last time. And there’s no time to both take a shower, which I have to do, and do that homework. Then again, here I sit typing, when I could get at least some of it done.

But I didn’t.

Love,

Hope

Anyone read The Secret by Rhonda Byrne? I’ve been hearing about it for months, but I’ve been skeptical. New Age sorts of books make me suspicious, though I have read some I’ve enjoyed.

The premise behind The Secret seems to be “if you imagine it will happen, it will.” To a certain exent that’s true, but only if you follow up that wish by being proactive. You can’t sit around thinking “I wish I had a million dollars” over and over and expect that to happen, not unless you have a rich uncle who’s on the brink of death in the hospital, and you’re his favorite niece. If you should “accidentally” kick the cord in the hospital, okay. You may get your wish.

But then Karma will come along and bite you in the ass for being a jag-dork.

I believe in Karma. How we act, what we do, all comes back on us. If you do good things, you’ll get good things. Not every, single time, but most of it. If you’re a grump who spends all his time yelling at small children, “Get off my lawn!” you’ll get something equally unpleasant in return, like having your house egged at Halloween.

This is just plain common sense. It’s no miracle. Nice, generous people attract both admiration and the attention of other kind people. Crab asses attract crabasses. Or, worse, no one at all.

There’s something to be said for a good attitude. My doctor keeps asking me, almost begging me now, to jot down three or five or whatever “little blessings” every day. That’s tough, especially at first. I was writing down things like, “The dog didn’t crap in the house today.” That’s a positive, but what she was really aiming at were things that either I did or that had a direct impact on me, like “I got through half an hour without calling myself stupid.” Stuff like that.

So, I’ll try it here. It may not be every day, but it’ll be more than I’m doing now, which is nothing. Let’s see what I can come up with:

1). All my working out is paying off. I can fit into dress pants I couldn’t button a month ago.

2). Though it’s overcast and rainy today, it’s warm.

3). I’m reading a couple really great books lately.

4). I have a job.

5). My graduate school semester will be over in a few days, and I expect to get good to very good grades.

Not all of those are technically perfect. They’re positives, but not always worded the way my doctor would like. For instance, # 5. She’d like to see “I’ve worked very hard this semester, and my natural intelligence has helped carry me through a tough semester.” That makes it more about me, and what I’ve accomplished than just a generic statement.

Yeah, whatever. I finished a small list. I think that’s good enough for now.

Love,

Hope

I finally cut my parents out of my life in July of last year. Though my father was the offender, my mother didn’t protect me, so I partially blame her for being so blind, despite all the obvious hints something was terribly wrong. She never even asked me if something was going on.

And she, herself, was abused by her own father.

Though I told the both of them I wanted NO CONTACT ever again, my mother eventually started sending me letters, packages, flowers and emails – to my work address of all places.

I’ve ignored them all. Everything she sends goes straight into the garbage now. At Christmas she sent a huge check to buy the kids some gifts. It’s uncashed, and I’m planning to shred it. At Valentine’s Day she sent each of us a card. Again, garbage. For my birthday, flowers. My husband refused them and sent them back to the florist.

At first I couldn’t bear to even touch her letters. I had my husband read them, but now I don’t even do that. Nothing she has to say matters to me. Now she emails my husband. He doesn’t reply.

I have a brother I love, and I talk to him and his family. He’s the only person in my family totally innocent of ever hurting me. My oldest brother did, in a different way. He’s dead now. I’m sorry for that, and don’t hold as much against him. At least he didn’t give me a veneral disease that could one day lead to me getting cervical cancer, like my father did. But probably only because he was impotent.

It wasn’t hard cutting off my parents. I’d despised the both of them forever. The sound of my mother’s voice on our answering machine used to send shivers up my spine, making me feel sick. Now we have caller i.d. She hasn’t tried calling yet, but if she does I can avoid her.

If she becomes more of a nuisance I’ll see if there are legal means to keep her from contacting us. Maybe a restraining order? A cease and desist? I don’t know.

But I do know there are things you must do to help preserve yourself. And cutting off my parents was a huge weight off my shoulders. I should have done it much, much sooner. But at least I’ve done it, and it’s over.

Love,

Hope

Not everyone would understand why I want to do this, to open up about a subject that has kept me – at times literally – mute.  But the truth is my past was so horrifically abusive, so terrifying and unimaginable, I feel getting it out will in some way help. And if, along the way, I can manage to help someone else I will be happy something positive has come out of the darkness and misery.

Hope isn’t my real name, but it’s what I cling to as I go through this very difficult period of cognitive and drug therapy, to combat my lifelong depression and help me, bit by bit, come to terms with childhood abuse that started when I was four or five, and went on until my admittance into an institution four or five years later.

I suffered over 40 years before I finally admitted my past was having a dramatic, and devastating, affect on my life. Then I sought help. I started seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist. I see my therapist once a week, and I’m on a drug regimine to keep me level, partly so I don’t “check out” from the horror of having to deal with it all.

I am a writer, blogger, librarian, wife and mother. I’ve never been drug-addicted, never an alcoholic, never in trouble legally. I survived by shoving everything down, pretending my life was fine, that I’d gotten beyond my childhood trauma. But it wasn’t fine. Everything exploded in my life in 2007. I asked my husband for a divorce. I thought I was in love with another man. I hit rock bottom.

A few months later I checked myself into a psychiatric day program. I started seeing the therapist I continue to see, and a psychiatrist started me on a drug regimine. Almost two years later, here I am.

I have made some progress. My marriage is back on track. Therapy is going well. My meds are pretty stable. I keep a written journal that really helps.

I don’t practice enough self care. Sometimes I slip back and feel I don’t deserve to exist. Some days I stand staring at my meds and think, “It would be so easy …” Many days I scratch and claw to get through, to push the demon off my shoulder.

But I’m working on it, slowly, day by day. This is my journey, what I deal with every, single day. Some days are better than others, but so far I am making it. With a lot of help, but still. I’m a survivor.

Love,

Hope

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