Even as I typed out the title here I want to cry. Yesterday I saw my doctor and one of the things we talked about was "sensory memories". He told me that dealing with sensory memories is the hardest part of the recovery for almost all survivors of incest or of any kind of sexual abuse. I came home from therapy and ate until I was so sick I could not move. (My unhealthy response to my fear.) I ate too much, I cried, I cried more and then I called my friend and said about fifty times "I can't do this work anymore!" Then I slept and I had a huge nightmare that I kept waking up from but falling back asleep into. It was this horrible dream in which I was being raped repeatedly and each time it was becoming more violent, more brutal and more clear to me how much pain I was in. This morning I woke up and ate way too much food as soon as I was up. I called my friend Eve and cried and talked to her for about an hour. I felt like a superhero when I was able to wash the dishes and walk the dogs. I have done so much work to get better and I have made so much progress. I am frightened by the few sensory memories that I have had come back to me and very scared because I know there are many more.
But I am trying to look at this whole shit mess of pain as good news. First, I am trying to remind myself that my mind now feels like I can tolerate these sensory memories and that is why they are coming up now. I have fought for so long to hold them back but I know it is a sign of my healing mind that I am starting to be able to tolerate them now. Second, I am trying to see it as extremely good news that I have come to the hardest part of the healing. I know this is the hardest part not just because my therapist said that but because the idea of remembering the actually FEELINGS that are attached to all of the stories and images in my head has always terrified me more than anything. But the good news about dealing with something so awful as remembering the physical feelings of the rape and abuse is that I have already started. I have already started to do the hardest part of the healing. It is not like I have to get through this and then there will be some other 'hardest part'. This is it. I have reached the most difficult part of the healing and it feels so bad I literally do not have words to describe it. But I am there, I am here, I have started. And some part of me keeps focusing on how painful this all is but some other part of my mind thinks: This is a thing I will go through. And to "go through" by definition means: THIS WILL PASS. Or: I will pass through this. There will be the other side and I am on my way there now.
I still want to cry. Maybe even more now. I am so frightened and not just by the physical memories... I keep feeling 'stuck'- I mean- I feel unsure what to do next- what to do today, what to move toward, what to do to comfort myself, what to do to move in a direction that will be toward healing and growth. So I keep getting to this place of feeling 'stuck' and when I ask myself what is going on- what I am really feeling or trying not to feel or what am I so afraid of??? I keep coming back to the same answer.
I feel afraid of my own power. I feel scared of my strength and my creativity and my own strong and healthy mind. Knowing about the power I feel in me now makes me know that I have NOT felt powerful for almost all of my nearly 33 years on this earth. And then I feel sad. But I want to hold that sadness in me about all that was taken- my childhood, my sex, my heart and I want to know that I can be strong today. I could not protect myself from my abusers when I was little and a lot was taken. But I can take it all back. I can be strong today, I can acknowledge the past that was so painful and I can live a great life in the present.
I want to run and bike and draw and sew and not be scared anymore. It is difficult to not be totally overwhelmed with sadness about the fact that I have felt so stripped of my power for most of my life. But I am grateful that I held on and pushed through- even when I felt like I was powerless. And I have made it to this moment and now I do have a choice in what I do. I have a million choices. And the first choice I am going to make is to not let old feelings of fear control my daily life anymore. Every morning when I wake up I feel sadness from the past and anxiety about the past and the present and the future. After I type this I am going to make a sign and hang it by my bed so when I wake in the morning I will see it. I will have to figure out exactly what I want to remind myself of when I wake.
Ok... I just made the sign. I will hang it on the wall right next to my bed after I finish typing this. :) One of the many things I have learned about having survived a huge trauma and working so hard to recover from dissociative identity disorder is that it is easy to go into old patterns and very often you have to remind yourself of the most basic things...
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.