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.

Monday, 22 October 2012

MASSAGE MILESTONE



I’ve had a very good massage today and came home with lots of thoughts going through my head. 

Before going to today’s massage I had a glance back through my diary and realised it was my 10th massage today. I knew it had to be about that which is why I checked. 

Wow, what an achievement it is to have reached my 10th massage! And what an achievement it is that I’m allowing her to massage more than just my back and shoulders.

I’m really proud of how I stuck with it and how well I’m coping with being touched and allowing Caroline to move on to massage a new place each time.

We began with my shoulders, neck and upper back. After a couple of sessions I allowed her to massage my lower back as well. Then three weeks later I allowed her to move on to massage my buttocks. In doing that I discovered that some of my lower back pain and most of my leg pain is due to very tight muscles in my buttocks.  

After another couple of weeks I agreed to lie on my back to allow her to work on my arms and on the front of my neck/shoulders which is a very painful and tender area for me. 

I also feel very exposed lying on my back although I’m under towels. Lying on my back is very hard but I’m determined to push through that. The first time I had my eyes shut but found it too triggering so now I lie on my back and look at the ceiling and pictures on the wall to distract me from that fact that I’m lying on my back.

I’ve noticed that the muscles in all those areas are gradually loosening up and that massage is not as painful as it first once. As far as Caroline is concerned “I am doing really well and my body is responding to the massage and progressing amazingly well.”

I would never have envisaged I would have progressed as well as I have. It’s worth the £38 it costs me each time to see such progress both physically and emotionally.

POTTERY GROUP



I’ve been on the waiting list to join Rethink’s pottery class for several months and had almost forgotten I’d agreed to be put on the waiting list. Then a couple of weeks ago I had a phone call from my Rethink worker telling me that a vacancy had come up and asking would I be happy to go ahead with the group? 

I replied that I’d be interested in meeting the group leaders and take it from there. Also, I told her that I was absolutely terrified about taking this next step and that I couldn’t agree to doing it until I’d met the group leaders and had a chance to size them up. So we agreed I’d show up the following week at the beginning of the class to be shown around the meet the leaders. 

As I thought about the group and how scared I was feeling I realised that this is a HUGE step for me. Most of my activities are solitary activities. I’m a very solitary person, partly because I’ve had to be. But that solitary person doesn’t necessarily want to remain solitary and would like to be able to do things with other people but the sheer thought of having to interact with another human being is so scary for me that quite often it’s totally paralysing and so I carry on with my solitary life and solitary activities. In agreeing to try the pottery group out it means I’m going to have to be part of a group once a week which means I’m going to have to find a way through the terror and total lack of confidence I feel being in a group.

Another interesting dynamic is the memory of being unceremoniously turfed out of art classes as a 12 year old in my first year at grammar school because I couldn’t draw. According to my teacher I was useless and there was no hope for me because I had “no sense of perspective” and I couldn’t look at something and then draw it. That event has stayed with me and carries with it a fear of trying anything creative out in front of other people in case I’m crap at it.

So those two issues combined make it a MASSIVE step.

The night before I was due to visit the group was terrible. I spent the night constantly waking up in a cold sweat and state of sheer terror. I felt really ill the next morning from nerves and nearly phoned to cancel. But that’s not the way I do things so I showed up at the agreed time literally shaking. 

The group leaders were very friendly and laid back and did their best to put me at my ease. They were very gentle with me and understood without me having to say that I was finding it a bit of an ordeal. 

The main leader has been teaching pottery for over 50 years and used to be a teacher. When I told her I was a complete beginner and was totally terrified about the idea she said “oh I’ve been doing this for 50+ years now and I’m very patient, I’ve found most people can produce something if they’re taught and supported properly, I’ll teach you how to do a fish to begin with.”

I thought “a fish, crikey, eeek” but at the same time felt strangely reassured by this very calm woman who was trying to soothe and encourage a very terrified little girl in a 46 year old woman’s body.

She then asked me if I’d done any clay work at all. My reply was “oh only the type in therapy where you get a piece of clay, do whatever with it, and then bash it to pieces.” She chuckled and said “ah, ok, err that’s not quite the kind of clay work we do here” I chuckled too and somehow that broke the ice, the terrified little girl slipped into the background and adult ‘me’ felt that maybe this was something do-able. She went on to say “this is a type of therapy rather than being a formal kind of class and we see it very much about being therapy.” That comment settled any remaining fears about being found incapable at some later stage and subsequently being thrown out of the group for my lack of artistic ability.
I was introduced to the other group members. There are 7 other people in the group, male and female, so that’s going to be another challenge for me. But everyone was pretty laid back and relaxed and busy concentrating on their work. 

After about ten minutes of being shown around and meeting everyone the group leader asked me if it was something I felt I could have a go at? So I’ve agreed to show up on Tuesday 6th November for my first session and to try it out for the six sessions that will lead up to Christmas and see where I go from there.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

PROGRESSING PAINFULLY AND SLOWLY



Well October has begun and I’m wondering what happened to September. 

Oh yes, I remember it disappeared in a haze of slowly and gradually working on very painful stuff that’s arisen for me following the news of the death of my ‘father’. 

I’ve also been really busy working through the 7107 photos I took during my holiday to the Scottish highlands in August. There have been times when the memories of purple heather, water cascading down mountainsides and reindeer walking by the side of the coach have been the only things which have helped me make it through some of the darkest days of September.

It’s been a very long hard month of being brought face to face with the reality of ‘who’ and ‘what’ Alan Nicholson was and also what he did and didn’t do or didn’t say. Death has a way of stripping away all the bull***t and all the excuses we make for ourselves and others until all you’re left with are the facts.

I’ve been reminded of the last time I saw him in 2002 and the powerful non-verbal communication which is the main thing I remember about it as well as Sheila’s nonsense during it. I remember feeling the depth of his regret and wishing things were different BUT I also remember how totally impotent he was at communicating that or doing anything about it. I remember how totally terrified he was of Sheila. That was something the police picked up on when they were arrested in 2010. It’s always been hard remembering that last meeting. I’ve wondered all these years what would happen if Sheila was to die first. Now I have the answer. I was hit by the weight of the sadness of Alan throwing away the opportunities he had to make some kind of amends. I never wanted or expected an apology but some acknowledgement that something happened, something was wrong, would have gone a long way. I sensed all that when I last saw him 10 years ago. The non-verbal stuff of that meeting was very powerful. I remember walking away disappointed that he made no attempt to address the truth that I sensed he wanted to just because of Sheila’s presence. She has a lot to answer for! BUT so does Alan! It is that which has been so highlighted by his death. At the end of everything he made decisions and took his choices. He is fully responsible for his actions and also his inaction. No excuses.

There are times I’ve felt the sheer emptiness of being rejected and abandoned and disowned by my own family, my own ‘parents’. I’ve felt very desolate and alone during the past month. Nothing can ever take away how that feels. There’ve been times I’ve self-harmed because the pain has been too intense to bear. Cutting acted as a release valve to get some of the pain out. There’ve been times I’ve felt very black and suicidal but I’ve somehow be able to remind myself that there is some great support in my life now and also of how incredible things are for me now compared to how my life has been. 

There have been a lot of ‘should’s’ and ‘should not’s’ around. Some have been about Alan and some have been my own. Some have been helpful and some not so. I’ve had a lot of powerful and confused feelings and emotions around.
Accepting how I feel and the complexities of my own ‘grieving’ process has been a hard process. 

My CPN said gently to me one day early in September - “maybe you could erase the word ‘should’, your feelings are your feelings whatever they are, they may not be what you may have expected but they are your feelings and being able to accept your feelings being around as they are would help you a lot, it is your own grieving process, you are grieving though it may not be recognisable as grief”.
 
My therapist and my counsellor have both said they “wouldn’t have expected me to feel any other way given what I’ve survived.”  

It’s odd because I’ve been alone for so long. Because my parents have been as good as dead to me for so long I thought it wouldn’t affect me all that much when they died. However, there is something about the finality of death which really highlights the pain and the truth. I guess that’s one thing that makes it so painful. I’ve found that I can’t just shrug my shoulders, say “they’re scum, don’t matter to me” – which is one of the things I feel - and then carry on as if nothing happened. The opposite is the case. I guess none of us know how we’ll react to anything until it happens to us!
It’s been one of the longest months I’ve lived through for a long time. 

Thanks to the deep work I’ve done in counselling and therapy sessions, including art therapy and working with clay, I’ve begun to find a way through the confusion and the hurt and to see a way forward. 

Alan’s death has done me one favour in a strange way. It has brought into sharp focus what he did to me and enabled me to step beyond generic terms such as ‘rape’ and ‘abuse’ and actually explicitly say ‘this is how it really was’, ‘this is what it really felt like’, ‘this is actually what he did/said’ and so. That has been incredibly powerful and healing. It has been a HUGE step forward for me. I’ve realised just how deep my trust is in the wonderful professional women who are walking alongside me and supporting me in this journey.

It may not have been a choice that I began this journey, but it is my very choice to remain in the process, no matter how hard or painful it gets, rather than jumping off the bus long before journey’s end.