I’ve not written for a long time because I’ve not had the emotional or mental energy to do so. I’ve been going through a crazy time of a lot of stress which stirred up a lot of stuff around powerlessness and helplessness which has sent me to some very dark places inside.
There’s been so much going on that it’s been hard to catch my breath and gather my thoughts and emotions together.
I’m coming up out of the worst of it now and thought it was now time to catch up a bit with some of what’s been going on.
My sexual abuse therapist took a couple of weeks leave and I really missed seeing her and to a large degree put that part of my healing on hold.
In the meantime I continued working on other really important stuff with my counsellor. In particular we did some really powerful work using cushions to represent different people. I was working around how I saw myself. I began with writing down what and who my parents brainwashed me to believe I was.
My counsellor asked me how I saw myself. To start with it was hard to put anything positive down but I managed a few positive statements about myself. She then asked me what about other people in your life? What about your child parts? How do they see you? I looked blankly at her and she invited me to get up and choose a cushion to represent them. As I held that cushion I closed my eyes and focused in on my most dominant child part and spoke what words came to me. What came out made me go “wow!” After that my counsellor said what about other people who know you? I suggested her and she wrote a list. She then said what about someone else you know? What about Kathy? Kathy is my CPN. I got out of my chair and chose another cushion to represent her, closed my eyes and focused in on things she’s said to me. Again another long list came out which made me go “wow!” once more. As we read through all the lists I realised that how I see myself is not how others see me. I also realised that I’m very slowly beginning to see that I’m not who or what my abusers brainwashed me to believe I was. To say that was powerful is a massive understatement!
I was also able to begin to talk over with my CPN Kathy what is being stirred up by the prospect of changing workers. She found it very helpful to know exactly what was going on and how it was affecting me and said to me “keep talking, don’t shut down, keep talking us through all that’s going on.” It was phenomenal that I was able to be so honest with her. I also mentioned that I can handle changes easier when I can have an explanation for them. She asked me if I understood why the change is going to happen? I admitted that I didn’t really. So Kathy explained in depth to me all the reasons for it and what is happening with her job. I found that really useful and thanked her for giving me that explanation. I also thanked for not putting me down for needing to ask. Asking questions is a very difficult thing for me to because asking questions about anything was meet with the severest punishment from childhood, It was very hard for me to ask Kathy but also a sign of how safe I feel with her. Kathy responded to me by saying “I’d never want to put you down” which was very powerful for me to hear.
Two weeks ago I had to deal with my ex-massage therapist unexpectedly turning up at my aqua fit class. It was a huge shock to me when she walked in. It wasn’t just that she’d walked into MY safe and enjoyable space which the aqua fit class has become for me, which I hadn’t realised until then. But it was also how she walked in. She walked in full of smiles, trying to make eye contact with me and engage with me. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The only word going round my head was “don’t” – “Just don’t even try to. You do not want to know my unvarnished opinion of you.” There was no way I was making eye contact with her because there was no way I was going to let her see the anger and hurt in my eyes. I lost my smile and felt immense anger, almost too much anger to contain. But no way was I walking out of MY class. And no way was I having a confrontation with her. I did not trust myself to speak. All I could do to cope with the situation was to totally and completely blank her which goes against my natural friendliness. I carried on as if she had not walked in, as if she was not there. After a while she moved down the deep end of the pool. I remained down the shallow end as I’m not comfortable out of my depth. That enabled me to really focus back on the class and I began to enjoy it a little once more. The instructor said to me several times “where’s your smile this week?” I thought “if you only knew!” At the end of the class I shot out of the pool, through the showers and then changed in the family changing area so I didn’t have to go through the ladies changing room. I was astounded at how I dealt with the situation. I was also forced to face my anger about how she’d dumped me and how deeply that had hurt and traumatised me and some of my child parts who had worked so hard to trust her.
Last week I was feeling very stressed at the start of the aqua fit class and only relaxed 15 minutes in when it became obvious that Juliette was not going to show up that night. I hope that she got the vibes from me that she was not welcome in my space and also hope I’ll never have to see her again. I felt immensely relieved and fully enjoyed my class again. It was actually the best workout I’ve had yet. My fitness levels are increasing and my internal muscles are beginning to get stronger. And wow, can I tell the difference? I went home aching afterwards but didn’t have any long term aches to cope with which again shows improvements in my fitness levels.
The huge upset and trauma of the past month was the suspension of my disability benefits. Money that was due into my bank account on 18th April did not appear which alerted me to the fact that something was wrong. When I phoned up to find out what I was informed that I was no longer considered eligible for the benefits because I had too much capital. I requested that someone who knew what they were talking about should phone me back. They did eventually and I explained the situation over my compensation award and how I’d used most of it to pay off debts. I was asked what the compensation was for and informed her that it was Criminal Injuries Compensation and that I’d told the Benefits Agency that and how I used it in writing twice already. She said “oh well, Criminal Injuries Compensation should be treated differently, it shouldn’t be treated as capital income, they should only be concerned with how you disposed of it and what you have in savings.” That confirmed what I had discovered for myself from benefit legislation. She said she pass the information on in the hope my benefits would be restored quickly.
The week that followed that was one of the hardest and one of the darkest I’ve lived through probably since the CPS dropped the case against my abusers in Sep 2010. The helplessness and powerlessness of my situation triggered a lot of trauma. I hardly slept, only getting rest and occasional sleep with the help of sleeping tablets.
I did get some welcome respite last weekend by a surprise visit to my home town of a very special old friend. It was lovely to have lunch with her on the Saturday and reminded me that no matter how alone I feel, I’m not totally alone in the world.
The tension and trauma grew as the days dragged by. The suspension of my benefits put my housing at risk, and that was another source of immense trauma for me. My Advocacy worker from Rethink took communicating with the Benefits Agency off my hands and dealt with them himself. He was constantly on the phone to them requesting action, answers and the re-instatement of my benefits, reminding them that I don’t have the capital they said I had and that nobody can live on fresh air. Thankfully I had enough left in my bank account from the compensation to get me through that month and pay my bills. But the fear of losing my home made it very hard for me to function and I can’t really explain how I got through those days. I know I prayed a lot. I also did a lot of photography as well as watched and played a lot of snooker. Some old addictions came back to haunt me during that time but I did manage to resist the temptation to go back to smoking.
By the time I got to last Thursday I was close to breaking point and desperately needed some good news. I was due to see my Rethink Advocacy worker and was anxious to hear whether he’d had any answers yet. The day before I’d prepared a letter to post to JobCentre Plus after our meeting if no progress had been made. Before our meeting I had an email from him informing he that he’d spoken to someone that morning and had been informed that they’d accepted I’d spent most of my compensation on paying debts and were in the process of reinstating my benefits. It was such a relief to get that message but a large part of me could not believe it was true until I heard for sure and so was glad to meet with my advocacy worker and hear his reassurance that it was true. We phoned and asked how long it would be until there would be a payment and what my benefits would be going forward. They couldn’t give any guarantees or timescales which was frustrating and unsatisfying. However, on Friday morning I had a phone call informing me that payment had been authorised and should credit into my account on 1st May and that I’d be getting a letter about future amounts of payments. When that letter came they still had my benefit status incorrect so I had to phone them yesterday and point that out to them. They said there had been a miscommunication and it would take a week to sort out but yes, my appeal about being found fit for work has been successful and I am no longer considered fit for work.
That is a HUGE relief and a HUGE victory for me!
What I’ve had to go through to get that victory has been horrendous and I’m hoping for a more peaceful time ahead than the last couple of months or so have been.