I am a survivor of extremely severe ritualistic childhood abuse and sadistic systematic torture. Without God's intervention in my life I wouldn't be here - NOW is the time for me to tell MY story by speaking the TRUTH about MY life. I will be silenced no more! On this blog I share MY life, MY healing journey; helpful quotes/stuff I come across and MY thoughts along the way. The more I speak out the more liberated I am from the shame and trauma of the abuse. My broken wings are gradually being restored. This blog has helped me begin to get my voice back and documents the journey God is taking me on to heal me from the trauma and damage caused by that most appalling abuse.

Friday, 23 March 2012

UPDATE ON BENEFITS APPEAL

Following my letter appealing the decision by the DWP to deem me fit for work and expect me to attend work focused interviews I received a communication from the DWP last Saturday - it was the medical report upon which that decision was based.

I had to read it several times before I took in what I was reading and realised what they'd done. The report was written by a government approved registered nurse with a very German looking name.

The prognosis at the top of the report states “a return to work for this client is unlikely for at least 2 years.”

The next section is called “Justification for Decision” and is a report on what what I wrote on the ESA application form.

As I read it over and over I got angrier and angrier.

Virtually the whole part of this report was directly polar opposite to what I wrote on the form. The term “government sponsored fraud” sprang to mind.

I knew that they were doing exactly that when they call people for medicals – they ask the client a question and write down the complete opposite of what they say and the client has no means to prove they said otherwise.

However, I was deeply shocked to see the DWP effectively do the same thing in writing.

It blew my mind how they could possibly expect to get away with it. It also made me extremely angry to see my words changed and twisted to look and sound totally different.

It reminded me of all the crap I've gone through with the police.

It also took me to some very dark places in my childhood where I was constantly being told the reality was very different to my perception and having every single word and action twisted and turned to appear and sound totally different to what it actually was.

The final statement on the report says “a return to work for this client is unlikely in the longer term.”

Looking at the report it was if the beginning and end were written by one person and the middle section by another person. They just did not relate to each other at all. It was very bizarre and very confusing.

However, those two clear statements at the beginning and end of the report made me feel that there is no doubt this is going to be overturned somewhere along the way.

It blows my mind how anybody can read those two statements and still deem me fit for work.

I was so angry and so triggered by the report that the only way I could cope with it was to sit down at my laptop and work on a letter in response to it. I spent the entire weekend working on the letter and by Monday was satisfied that I had a response which was very clear and objective.

The bulk of the letter is taken up with taking every point they made in the middle of the report and quoting from my ESA form to show how incorrect each statement they made and how clearly stated it was on the form.

The end of the letter confronts the DWP with the statements at the beginning and end of the report and states very clearly that due to those statements and all the inaccuracies in the report they have no grounds to find me fit for work and should place me in the support group. I ask them to specifically explain how they could find someone fit for work when they've been clearly told that's unlikely for at least 2 years and in the longer term.

I sent the appeal letter off last Monday and await their response.

THIS WEEK'S MASSAGE

My usual massage therapist is still unable to work due to her shoulder problems so my appointment with her was cancelled this week. I had booked an alternative appointment with the massage therapist, Donna, who I saw last time but she had to cancel too so I had to either go without or try yet another different therapist.

I decided on the latter because now I'm having massage as part of my healing I really need it when the appointments come round. I had an awful night overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, it was obviously playing on my mind and I got very little sleep, if any.

So come Wednesday I felt absolutely awful and forced myself out to the massage. I was very glad I did though!

The massage therapist was called Tracy and combines aromatherapy with massage. We talked about the purpose of my massage and where I am on my healing journey. She suggested an orange blossom mix of oils to use for the massage. I happen to love blossom. I love how it looks and how it smells so I felt that she'd read me very well.

We agreed that she'd massage my neck, back and shoulders with the option of turning on to my back at the end to massage the front of my neck and shoulder area.

It was a very nice massage. Gentle but thorough and I found it incredibly relaxing. I was amazed at how relaxed I was during it. The smell of the orange blossom essential oil mix was beautiful and I loved it.

While she was massaging me I was weighing up whether or not I'd feel able to turn over so she could do the front of my neck. Lying on my back feels like a very exposed position for me but my gut was telling me I was safe and could trust her so when we got to the end of the massage and she asked me I said “I'd give it a go”.

To start with it was ok. I was totally covered up apart from my neck area and I felt surprisingly ok about her touching me on my front.

After that part of the massage she lifted the back of my head up and massaged it. The first time she did it I was sort of ok, the 2nd time I was aware of a greater sense of unease. Both times I felt a tensing in my neck and head area which made me wonder what was being triggered. The 3rd time I completely dissociated.

I didn't realise I had until I heard my name being spoken from what seemed to be a long distance. I snapped back into myself and heard Tracy gently telling me to relax my head. I tried to but the more I tried the harder it got! Tracy gently said to me “think heavy, let your head to go heavy, I have it safely in my hands and I'm not going to let it drop.” Eventually I was able to and she finished the massage.

As I reflected on what happened afterwards I was aware of memories – memories of my head being held in a vice like grip for various not nice purposes by paedophiles at my grandparents' house – memories of my head being held then deliberately allowed to fall and hit the floor hard – memories of my head being deliberately smacked against walls – all of these memories involved the back of my head/neck being touched where Tracy touched it.

When I go for a massage I never quite know what might be triggered by it. But I have to say I didn't expect that to happen. I've always known I don't particularly like having my head touched which can make getting my hair cut difficult and is also one reason why my hair is kept very short so it takes the minimum of work to look after. The least I have to touch my head the better. But I didn't quite know why that was, just that it was. Now I realise why I'm not all that surprised.

Those memories had been very buried but now they've come to the surface they need to be acknowledged and honoured.

I'll be very relieved when Juliette comes back to work because it's been really hard having to go to different therapists. I just want get back to where I was and to progress to the next level with Juliette.

However, it's also been an interesting and useful experience having to see other massage therapists. Each one has been different. Each one is one more person I've trusted. Each one has taken a lot for me to be able to do it. I've learned all sorts of things about myself I wouldn't have learned otherwise.

I'll just be glad to get back to 'normal' where my massage is concerned. I can't wait for Juliette to get back to work but in the meantime I'll keep plugging on knowing I can work with other massage therapists, even if it means I lose a night's sleep before it.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

THE PAST WEEK

This past week has been a rollercoaster of a week. I had massage on Tuesday with a new massage therapist which was a massive step. The same day the bottom dropped out of my world when I received a letter from the Dept of Work + Pensions informing me that they had deemed me fit for work and I'd have to attend work focused interviews in order to keep my benefit. I was completely emotionally devastated to receive that letter. It was totally devastating to read that and realise the implications for my life which included a huge drop in my benefits. After years of working really hard to keep on top of all my debts I was staring down the barrel of bankruptcy. But also being found fit for work when the truth is very different and now having to prove that felt too massive to even consider how I was going to deal with that.

I felt immense panic as well as deep anger that all I've worked so hard at over the last few months to establish in my life for my healing and my future was at stake because of this one letter and this one appalling decision.

I felt helpless and very alone.

However, I had the presence of mind to phone my mental health recovery worker and my CPN, Both of them were very angry and deeply shocked at the decision and fully supportive of me. So was my practice nurse later in the day, my sexual abuse therapist was extremely angry and despairing that such a decision could be made when my mental and physical health problems are so well documented and complex.

I was astounded by the reactions of all my support workers and realised that I'm not the only one who thinks that decision is appalling and I'm most definitely not over-reacting!

It was a very hard few days, mentally and emotionally. I had several meetings with my support workers planning a way forward. I sent a letter on Friday lodging my formal appeal and outlining my reasons for the appeal.

I was then left in a place of “well I've done all I can for now and have to await their response.” It was not a comfortable place to be!

The weekend came and I was physically totally exhausted and in deep pain. The week's trauma was coming out of my body. I think it was a blessing in disguise because I hardly made it out of bed all weekend and so thoughts of self-harm or drinking myself into oblivion barely crossed my mind. My body, mind and spirit needed complete rest and that was all that my mind was full of. So I rested all weekend.

On the Saturday I received a letter from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority informing me that they've reviewed my case and awarded me level 17 compensation for child sexual assault. There are 19 levels for child sexual assault awards. So having level 17 compensation speaks of how severe they considered the abuse to have been. Level 17 compensation is worth £22000.00. It will be paid into my bank account within 10 working days!

Just the day before I had been staring at bankruptcy. Now 24 hours later I realised that my debts would be paid off and I'd have enough left over to have some financial breathing space, treat myself, replace things that need replacing and so on.

My brain couldn't compute it. It was overwhelming. It was also very validating. Someone had looked at the evidence and said in effect “I'm satisfied these things happened, I'm also satisfied that the abuse was severe and life-changing and deserves a compensation award that reflects that.” That felt so amazing especially after all the crap with the police and CPS.

On the Monday I received a letter from a police officer based in Penrith informing me that he is investigating the behaviour of the police during my case and in all the communications since. It was a very respectful letter and is the nicest and best communication I've had from police throughout the last 2 years.

It was incredible that after receiving such bad news I then received two really positive pieces of news, one of which is potentially life-changing for me.

I cannot imagine what it's going to be like to go forward without any debts and money in the bank. I've never had two pennies to rub together at any stage of my life. It's very hard to take it. I can't wait till the money is in my account and I can pay my debts off. Although I also know it will create further trouble concerning my benefits. I feel I can handle that knowing that whatever happens I have financial breathing space for the first time in my life.

Today and yesterday I've been feeling very cotton-wool headed and flu-ey. I've experienced those symptoms before over the years. It's the stress and trauma coming out in my body. It's how the ME/CFS reacts to such levels of strain. So I'm taking things very gently and being very kind to myself.

I am astounded at the turn of events and excited about the difference that compensation is going to make to my life.

As my CPN said today “you cannot put a monetary value to such abuse and damage but it is so validating to be compensated for it!”

Friday, 9 March 2012

A BIG MASSAGE WOW!!


I did something incredibly astounding, brave and risky in relation to my massage this week.

When I arrived for my counselling appointment on Monday afternoon I was told that my massage the next day had been cancelled. My usual massage therapist, Juliette, was off sick after having a cortisone injection in her shoulder. I was floored for a moment and froze. I’d been preparing myself mentally and emotionally and realised that actually I really needed that massage for many reasons. It was then suggested that another massage therapist had a space at the same time as my original one had been booked for. Did I want to take that appointment instead? 

I stood there in a quandary weighing up the progress I’d made and the need I really had to keep the momentum and not have a break in the massage against the thought that it would mean having to see and trust someone I’d not met before and having to fill her in on a bit of background. I became aware that my counsellor was standing there watching me weigh things up along with the receptionist. I knew I was going to have to make a decision. I realised that my need for the massage outweighed the anxieties about allowing a new person to touch me. I realised I couldn’t entertain the thought of having no massage so I took the appointment being offered.

I’ve got to say I didn’t have a very good night with it playing on my mind and I was immensely anxious by the time I walked through the door for the appointment.

The massage therapist, Donna, was great, very understanding and tried very hard to put me at my ease as much as possible.

I explained the background to why I’m having massage and the progress I’d been making especially the HUGE step last time to allow my therapist to massage my lower back.

She suggested going right back to basics and just working on my shoulders and neck. I felt ok about that and thought that was a great idea. She did suggest doing reflexology on my feet but I said that the thought of my feet being touched was far more terrifying than I would have imagined. I realised that I was being reminded of how my ankles were held by my abusers and that was why I felt such an aversion to my feet being touched.

So having agreed on where she was going to massage me I took my top off and lay on my front on the couch. She covered me up in a towel and I felt really wrapped up safe and warm. It was very soothing lying under that towel.

I have to say I was very impressed with her knowledge and understanding of anatomy. It turns out she does sports massage as well as general massage. She could tell just by looking and then gently touching that my right shoulder had undergone severe trauma and was very weakened and not properly aligned whereas my left shoulder had very solid structure though too much muscle mass which is about compensating for the weakness in my right.

I filled her in on the history of my right shoulder - how I was told 13 years ago that a break in my early childhood was visible on an x-ray and it was also visible on the x-ray that it wasn’t treated. 

Donna said that made a lot of sense in what she could feel in the shoulder structure. She gave my right shoulder a really good massage, got a lot of heat into the tissues and stretched out some of the tight parts of the soft tissue structure.

In the days that have followed my right shoulder has felt more comfortable than it has ever felt, there has been huge reduction in pain and it’s more like an ache now. So that’s a huge improvement. She obviously did something right.

She also massaged and stretched out my left shoulder and the base of my neck. 

All the time she was massaging there was some very gentle music coming from the CD player. Donna suggested I focus in on the music rather than on what she was doing and as I did so a lovely picture began to form in my mind’s eye. 

I saw myself on a beach, there was no-one else there, I was alone, running along the water’s edge with a kite in my hand. The sun was warming my face and a gentle breeze ruffling my hair. I was running along smiling, laughing, carefree. It was an incredibly relaxing picture which helped me through the massage. Part of me felt really sad that at no point in my life have I been as happy, relaxed and carefree as I was in that picture!

The hour went very quickly and I was almost sorry when it was over which amazed me. 

As we finished she asked for my permission to speak to Juliette and tell her what massage she did and what she found in the structure of my shoulders. She also said that if in the future Juliette wasn’t available she’d be happy to fill that gap.

I realised that I’d be quite happy for her to do so should the situation arise which really surprised and astounded me.

I’d taken a massive step in deciding to take a risk and give it a go. I thought afterwards “wow, Donna is one more person I’ve trusted a bit!”
 
I’m still going “wow, I can’t believe I did that!” But I did. 

It was phenomenal what I was able to do last Tuesday. It was incredible, wonderful, terrifying and enjoyable all at the same time!! Don’t ask me how I did it because I really don’t know but I’m so glad I took that risk!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

IMAGINE A WOMAN

The following poem was posted on Facebook for International Women's Day today. It was so good I had to use it here.


Imagine a woman who is interested in her own life.
A woman who embraces her life as teacher, healer, and challenge who is grateful for the ordinary moments of beauty and grace.

Imagine a woman who participates in her own life.
A woman who meets each challenge with creativity who takes action on her own behalf with clarity and strength.

Imagine a woman who has crafted a fully-formed solitude.
A woman who is available to herself who chooses friends and lovers with the capacity to respect her solitude.

Imagine a woman who acknowledges the full range of human emotion.
A woman who expresses her feelings clearly and directly who allows them to pass through her as naturally as the breath.

Imagine a woman who tells the truth.
A woman who trusts her experience of the world and expresses it who refuses to defer to the thoughts, perceptions, and responses of others.

Imagine a woman who follows her creative impulses.
A woman who produces original creations who refuses to colour inside someone else’s lines.

Imagine a woman who has relinquished the desire for intellectual safety and approval.
A woman who makes a powerful statement with every action she takes who asserts to herself the right to reorder the world.

Imagine a woman who has grown in knowledge and love of herself.
A woman who has vowed faithfulness to her own life who remains loyal to herself. Regardless.

Imagine yourself as this woman.