Sometimes, albeit rarely, i play music i kept in my suv when i would drive myself the seven miles to work. A favorite was Kelly Clarkson’s album, “Breakaway.” i never made it farther than seven miles for years, but this song became a secret promise to myself.
i needed out and had no idea how.
Somewhere inside me, it’s like i have a small trunk of collected images of my mother in rage at me. i suppose i just shoved them all in there and locked it tight, the moment it was over. At night, it comes spilling open.
i taught myself how to lucid dream when i was twelve, the year i started collected medical books for my future clients. i relied upon that skill until Sir Raven made me take a medicine for fibromyalgia. It does help, but everything has a trade off. The trade off to Cymbalta is a rare side effect of extremely vivid dreams, and the loss of lucid dreaming.
Last week, pandora’s box opened in a nightmare-except it was a full memory in black and white. It’s not as if i forgot being raped at 5 or later. i did not forget. However, i was required to tell my mother that it happened later, after his car wreck that gave him permanent brain damage, because it was her “only good marriage.” The truth-that he was a pedophile-would “destroy her.” Yes. Destroy her. She also ignorantly remarked that i would have died if he had done it at 5. She was half right, but it was her denial that did that.
i remember a pool party with his relatives years later, after he had already been taken away from us after an exhausting two years of Jeckle/hyde when he would go back and forth between being himself and being a wild eyed, demented, angry, drooling, frothing stranger. The girls at the pool party had all been sexually abused by him, their aunt was telling my mother, and i pretended to not hear. My mother whispered in my ear to stay away from the girls, that they had head lice. It never occurred to me until the other day that this could have been a lie to freak me out and to keep me from talking, because the oldest girl had joined in the conversation. Even then, my mother insisted i tell her that he hadn’t known what he was doing to me, that it was after the wreck, that nothing really happened. She would sob, beg me to tell her on demand, and i was an obedient girl. She would say if it had been true, she would have killed him. What happened instead, of course, was that we brought him home on my decision. We went to visit him the day i started my period at school and felt vulnerable and exposed, after i pleaded for us to not go.
Once, in a moment of strength, i told her it had happened. She went into a rage that lasted two days, ending with her driving me to the bank, telling me she would give me some money and then i would be dead to her. i couldn’t drive, was under age, had no where to go, and money wouldn’t solve any of that. That isn’t why i recanted. i recanted because i figured if we were leaving each other for life, i should protect her first. i should tell her what she needed to hear to go on with her bizarre idea that she “had it right” once.
i was surprised when she sobbed and thanked me, and i opened my door to go into the bank, hoping she would help me get a hotel room or something in the rural area. She told me that it wasn’t necessary anymore, for me to be “dead.” i was her daughter again.
So, this nightmare wasn’t a total surprise to me. Just that i don’t often have anything come up so clearly, because when it starts i shut it down. But there it was, the smells of him and fresh cut grass, the van, the quick stabbing pain, and then a drive for kit kats.
i woke up, covered in sweat and thankful that my full bladder had forced me awake. somewhere inside i was screaming at myself are you okay?
But i was okay. i am okay. It doesn’t define me. None of it does, really.
There are a lot of abusive experiences that i think of as just experiences. Therapists told me that this was wrong, that i shouldn’t see my life like it was on a movie screen, that i should have feelings for that little girl. i don’t know what my mother did to me before age five, but she had already taught me to not show terror, and i was clearly afraid of upsetting her in any way. i know that much. i don’t think that goes away. So it is very hard for me to have emotional attachment to these memories, even the rare ones where i can remember feeling terrified or rage at the time.
Things that set my mother off were often benign-setting her laundry basket down of freshly folded clothes too hard, anything that could be construed as me ” standing over her,” the look on my face, my arm touching her arm accidentally in the car, being too affectionate and making her “look like a lesbian,” rejecting in any manner any way she touched me, anything that caused her own memories to surface. That one was particularly tricky, because it would be just a random set of words or the way we happened to be standing, and once triggered she would act out on me her own abuse as a child.
i was reading recently that many women are misdiagnosed as having bipolar when they are actually DID. i think that many women who are misdiagnosed as bipolar may have antisocial personality disorder.
Those shopping sprees? Are they mania or a lack of responding to normal rules and conventions? Many of the behaviors associated with mania also reek of failure to accept social norms, personal responsibility, and exhibitions of rage.
My mother casually asked me one afternoon if i knew what bipolar was. Of course. i listed off all of the criterion from memory. Nodding, she flattered me, and then told me she needed me to “pull off,” having it. She had organized a meeting, testing, and we needed the additional check in the house. That was how it was presented-do this thing, or we can’t financially survive.
i couldn’t imagine that the result would be an acting job that would come with years of forcing me to take lithium and antipsychotics. i had to actually take it, because you get blood work monthly and they check. Lithium binds to receptors and creates permanent changes. It took years to be diagnosed differently, years of meds i didn’t need, meds that kept me unable to feel much and may well have caused outbursts in a person who didn’t need them.
For as much as i try to focus on the good, on gratitude, on a good life and being productive, on my relationship being good for SR, on my education-
there are times i am engulfed by the magnitude of it all.
For one thing, the damages that can’t be fixed in my body was caused by abuse, the pain is from abuse. The pain i live in. It is real, now, immediate. It effects and informs everything in my life. i can’t get away from it.
i’m finding it really hard to have a sustained focus on anything. Hopefully, my muscle relaxers i’ve been out of for a week come today and the skull pain calms down. i can’t even articulate an email to my professors. what to say?
i am wondering how i can manage the next 4 weeks of these classes. i am wondering how-even if my Master was behind me-i could possibly get through the required hours of in person intern work, the hours required for licensure. After that, i could work at home. But how can i get there now? i don’t know.
The only thing one of the best doctors in New York can tell me if she might be able to make me “more comfortable.” That doesn’t bode well.
i’m trying to think of ways to deal with this that don’t piss me off. i asked Sir Raven about buying a ballet barre, so i can safely work on strengthening my legs and core. i told her that if i end up not able to walk, which is NOT going to happen, we are going to get an adult sized stroller for me. A company that makes strollers made an adult sized one for an adult to get inside and get a baby perspective and everyone was happy inside. Just the idea makes me grin. But that isn’t going to happen to me, so all i needed was to tell SR that this is what i needed to think of as my “worst case scenario.”
It causes me a lot of unneeded stress to not be able to blow off steam, not turn to fucking and pain to manage the stress. Of course, it turns those things inward. There is nothing for me to do but accept.
The weekend before last, i was looking into doctoral programs, possibly social psychology or sociology. i was trying to find a program that i would do well at, that can be completed online, and that didn’t have a requirement of in person hours except for residencies. i was trying to think of what work might transfer in case i need to change gears. i have just a few classes left and then it is really all about the in person hours, internship, and clocking hours for licensure. My health seems too precarious for that, and i don’t have any idea what to do to handle this.
Dropping out cuts my income in half because we live on student loans, too. So that isn’t feasible. Getting a job with my BS degree wouldn’t make much more than i make now between disability and student loans. It also isn’t sustainable for the long term. Finishing my Masters degree is taking huge risks without a guaranteed pay off. Going for a doctorate means more years of school- at least 3, realistically. Ironically, it seems like the choice that makes the most sense. i’m trying to move toward acceptance and figure out various plans so Sir Raven can decide the next path for me.
Today, i have a few projects for school to work on. i fucked up last week totally, and my A slipped to a B. i finally got the only feedback that wasn’t tersely worded from Professor APA. i have to pull off some talented work to make up for this, explain myself again.
Sir Raven had a stern talk with me last night, after i was totally disappointed by missing a Spiritual party where my absence was actually noticed and missed, because of how dependable i am at working a kitchen. Sir Raven went Sunday. Yesterday, she told me how many people asked about me, and that it was noticed i wasn’t there working. It felt really surprising to me, but i also felt a humble pride that my Master has a slave who is known by her work and smile. She told me that i was missed, but that she was right in making me stay home to rest, and noted that her home was back in proper order yesterday because of it. Granted, she made the trips downstairs with me to supervise me doing laundry because i needed that help. The house is messy from art projects and stuff out and that is stressing the shit out of me, but i got a lot cleaned up yesterday and everything is clean. That was her point in the talk, that i should be leery of pushing through the pain, that i should be focused on her only. i sort of mildly pushed back, skirting willful, until i realized it and quieted myself. Her tone had changed and i recognize that tone and what it means. She is right after all. i miss events so i can rest or get caught up in school and serve her. i shouldn’t be sad about that. i am here to serve her.