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****TRIGGER WARNING****

I am getting pretty close to snapping. As though the stress of being raped on the third day back at med school, starting school, moving, still unpacking, studying and feeling like there are 2 million fireflies fluttering around my head distracting me at all times, having to see his nonplussed asshole self every day because all med students have the SAME classes together at the SAME time, and the fantastic re-traumatizing process of the legal system ALL weren’t enough, I think he gave me an STD. When I was last checked, I was STD-free. I have the pleasure of finding out the culture and blood work results early next week. He has “no idea” if he used the condom that was on the floor. I took Plan B during the rape kit, along with other prophylactic antibiotics for bacterial STDs. But, I was told that there were no prophylactics available for viral STDs.

I have been having a really hard time to begin with. I am dealing with school as best as I can. I’m doing better grade-wise with every passing week. But, I’ve got a long way to go before I’m satisfied. However, I couldn’t stand pretending like nothing happened and like he didn’t violate me. I knew I had to report it either internally to my school or to the authorities. I decided on the authorities after I heard from someone else from school that (even though I was extremely vague w details) that he had “heard my story of what happened before” and that he “knew who it was based on his behaviors”. I questioned him and didn’t give any information away. I asked like 5 demographic questions to which I got all the right answers. I stood up and screamed in the room we were in. I asked my friend how he knew… and he said it was because he had heard my story before from someone else who knew my rapist before med school started.

I finally crawled into the police station and made my report. I tried to escape the prosecutor’s office and statement, but the female officer had her own agenda because she had been raped at 12. I managed to escape having to do the interview and taped statement with the prosecutor’s office that day because no one was available. I went back after I heard that he had potentially done this to someone else already. I had a feeling, but I’m not omniscient. He doesn’t even think he did anything wrong. That’s a whole ‘nother story, though. I can’t even go there right now.

I have had the pleasure of walking into class to find the staff of the prosecutor’s office at my school because they couldn’t track my rapist down at home. I hid from him for 2 days after I knew he was interviewed. I am the victim, I was violated, and yet I was cowering. It is MY school. I shouldn’t have to hide. He should be ashamed, scared, and intimidated by me. He raped me, and I am fighting back. I may not get far legally, but I am speaking the truth, which is empowering (and horrific, and humiliating, as well–but I am proud of myself regardless of the outcome).

And now I have the pleasure of waiting a few days to find out my STD status. I went to the doctor yesterday. I didn’t investigate anything on my own prior because I didn’t want to obsess about it, especially while I’m trying to stay tethered from the planet and not totally tossing in the towel over school. However, I spent time last night and this evening investigating what I think I have. I have very classic symptoms of a primary infection in females. It has gotten progressively worse since yesterday. The only thing I can do is make a paltry attempt at being mindful and not letting my worries and the potential diagnosis consume me. Emphasis on paltry. Every time I think I’ve calmed down I start crying again. I just want to be able to dissociate on command again. People have stuff to say, but it’s mostly crying, and “we’re damaged forever”, etc. However, who I want to take over won’t. I can’t be on the phone with my friends, my mom, a rape counselor 24/7. I have nothing more to say.

~Joy

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The beginning of the aftermath

**TRIGGER WARNING: This post is about a recent assault. It may trigger you and I hope you will engage in enough self-care to discern whether or not reading about this may cause you difficulties.**

I really wanted to write a post about Rape Trauma Syndrome. And earlier today and yesterday I had the emotional fortitude to do it, but at this moment, I don’t. So at a later point in time, hopefully I will be able to write about that.

I will admit, I’m in disbelief of what happened. I won’t go into any details because I would like to keep this as non-triggering as possible for anyone who decides to read this. But, I’m having a really hard time today. I got out of the house and went swimming, then went for ice cream w a friend and hung out at my house for a bit. The guy I like is coming home from vacation a little early just to hold me. Or so he says, but … I’m sorry, I expect nothing from anyone and don’t believe what people say, I believe what people do. (Note: He and my closest friends have been amazingly supportive… I’m just in a total funk right now) And now I’m alone again. I feel so unsafe when I’m alone.

I have so many supports; friends, family, professional, here. I think I’m doing as well as one can. I’m engaging in a lot of self-care, feeling my feelings, doing reality checks and thought stopping when necessary, keeping my routine and living my life, and reaching out… and I’m still here sobbing right now. And earlier today I felt so unsafe. I even felt unsafe for almost the entire time I was at the pool. I felt scared of everyone, even the (usually to me, adorable) little kids bumping into me.

I have so much to do. I have to prep for classes on Monday. I have to handle housing and tomorrow go sign a lease. I have to pack. I’m a former horder (I believe because many things were taken from me, tangible and intangible), most recently just totally overwhelmed by the amount of crap no matter how much I throw out, sell, and donate, donate, donate. I presently feel like purging my house of everything other than my furniture and clothing. I want to get rid of a lot of my clothing too, which is totally unusual for me. I know I need to get rid of things so I can move and be in a mindful, serene place emotionally, I just can’t believe that I was assaulted and now I want to throw out EVERYTHING.

I’m really trying to use distraction. I feel a lot of fear. I can’t isolate about specifics, but I am especially afraid when I’m alone. And the fear hurts my chest. Just like it has in the past… And now I’m listening to music and in a few I’ll get back to tossing things in the trash and setting aside worthy things to donate. I want it all gone. I want to start my return to school with strength and determination. But mostly, I just want a SAFE hug.

Wishing you serenity and that incredible feeling, safety,

Joy

I Don’t Know Where to Begin

**TRIGGER WARNING: What I say later may be difficult for you to read. If you are not in a safe place, or may be triggered by something that I’m going to describe–PLEASE take good care of yourself and DO NOT read this.**

First of all, I suppose you can gather that I still am, in fact, alive. Things have been INSANE lately, and not in a clinical sense. I have returned to medical school, am in the process of relocating, and a bazillion other things. I am ardently looking forward to settling into my new home, and in with classes, so that I can get my routine going again. I have been able to talk to my friends and see them, but not as much as I would like and is typical of us. I have a lot LOT lot of things I’d like to write about, and I’ll get to them eventually. But, I have something I would like to share.

********************This is where the possible TRIGGER begins********************

Over the past day I have learned to say the four-letter word of what happened to me a few days ago. On the third day after my return to medical school, I was raped by a fellow classmate. I have been taking extremely good care of myself and honestly, cannot believe how well I am handling what happened. I got the appropriate medical care and counseling/advocacy that I need to start the healing process the day after. I will be ok. I took a day off from school (orientation) and missed my White Coat Ceremony because I told one of the Deans in Student Affairs that I was purposely being vague; and that something bad happened the night before, and that I need to get appropriate medical care and counseling so that I am ok to start classes on Monday.

I have been doing what I think is best for me to heal. I have read information, spoken to my friends and other supports, and continued LIVING. I will not isolate and/or spontaneously combust because something bad that was not my fault and absolutely out of my control happened. I have been processing my feelings, and letting them happen so that hopefully I will have less repercussions later. I expect this will slightly disrupt my life, but I refuse to let it derail me. I have survived too much and worked way too hard academically and even more so, therapeutically to get through and reclaim my life. I won’t let someone else’s actions get in the way of that. This is what I have control over.

I have genuinely missed my online community between here and twitter. I hope you are all doing well, and I have thought about you very much despite the fact that I’ve been MIA. Wishing you peace, safety, and serenity. Namaste.

~Joy

On May 20, 2007 I wrote a letter to my 8 y/o self/part/aspect/split, however you like to view different aspects of self. At that time I was unaware I had DID, however, I am pretty sure my therapist at the time (who I adore to this day) had some intimation that I was dissociative. He had recommended that I write a letter to myself at 8 years old bc that was a particularly difficult year, especially emotionally. At that point, the physical and sexual abuses, though obviously affected me/us deeply, were very dissociated. But the emotional stuff was SO raw.

At that time, I didn’t know I was dissociative, nor what that was, and was certainly not the leader of my system. I recall about a year and some months ago when I lost it for a few days bc I realized that I was most certainly not my system leader. In the last year I have (at times by just “winging it” lol) become much closer to my parts, come to understand them, worked with them, so that we work together instead of apart.

I found the above-mentioned letter to 8 in a journal this morning (it was the first journal in which I wrote as if it were MINE… and would not be the subject of invasion of privacy & scrutiny–mind you I was 24 and had been on my own for 6 years already…) and wanted to share it with you and re-emphasize what I said to her at that time. =) It was very healing to re-read what I had said at that time to my “inner child”. Writing to parts if you have DID, or writing to your inner children (everyone has them), I believe can be a very important part of healing from PTSD and/or childhood trauma. I know it has been helpful to me.

“Dear 8,

I’m sorry you were scared by Lisa. She was sweet, pretty, kind, and smart–all things you should look for in a person to love. I’m sorry Mom (step-mom) and Dad didn’t protect you from harm-both from them and others. I wish you hadn’t felt so insecure and out of place in our “family”. I wish there were some places that would have been safe, and at least one adult that knew how great of a kid you were–and TOLD you. I wish our brother hadn’t been born to the same family so you wouldn’t have been cast aside like chopped liver by “Mom” and become the scapegoat, among other things in the family. I wish your little self hadn’t been made the scapegoat for ADULT’S problems. I wish your teacher(s) had reach out to you. I wish for hugs for you and warm blankets. I wish for praise and good support. I wish someone told you that 99+% on tests was GREAT! I wish for safety and privacy. I wish someone (one of our parents) had told you that you were talented. I wish someone asked how your day was. I wish for security, generosity, and truth-telling. I wish for warm covers and night-lights.

Good night lil one, Love,

Joy” 5/20/07 (Almost exactly a year before I began intensive trauma therapy)

I know it’s been quite a while since I last blogged. I hope you are all well and are moving along your recovery path at a pace that suits you. ❤

Wishing you peace and safety,

Joy

Ps-Five more days until our 6 month no self-harm anniversary (July 10, 2010)! Yay! It hasn’t been easy (and has def. required a lot of internal communication, commitment to safety, and the love and support of friends and select family!). Looking forward to it!

As I lay in my bed with my mind wrestling with feelings about my Dad and stepmom, I came to a startling (to me), frightening, and wonderful realization: I’m the best parent I’m ever going to get.

I had an abusive childhood. This is not exactly a revelation. But, I’ve spent the last two years really trying to alter the negative messages and incorrect beliefs I was raised on. My perception of self (selves ;}) is much healthier and continues to go in that direction. I’ve really worked on self-care, especially since filling out a self-care survey a little over a year and a half ago and coming to realize that I took the least care of myself outside of showering and dressing in a room of trauma survivors. I try to be at least a decent to good leader of my internal system and take good care of all of us. I try to be a good “parts mom” (when I’m not denying that I have DID, I stopped denying the abuse this past fall, so — this is progress).

I am the healthiest parent I’m ever going to have nurture, discipline, and love me. So I better amp up my maternal skills and parent myself like no one else ever has (literally & figuratively). My mom definitely is a big part of my life, and despite past abuse, I do know she loves me very much. I don’t condone her behavior, but I forgive her. She’s at least TRYING. My father and my stepmother only care to peep into my life when it involves degrading me in some capacity. I can mindfully let it go now, but I still find it very hard to let go of the pain and other associated feelings about the fact that they are never going to be the healthy parents I want and deserve. I love them, at times I pity them, and most of the time, I don’t like them. Yet, I still live with this itty bitty glimmer of hope that they’re going to ::poof:: be somewhat healthy, non-toxic, loving influences in my life. Radical acceptance sucks and yet it is also one of the most healing things for me to employ skill-wise. I have to radically accept that in their entire 5 decades of life, they’ve developed into the people they are. And, I don’t like them. They are not people with whom I share values, beliefs, interests, or much of anything. I know it’s hackneyed, but many say “little apples don’t fall far from trees”. Well, this little apple seems to have rolled up and down a few hills and landed in a markedly different place to grow. I do share some characteristics with them. Some or most of which are actually positive! But, for the most part, I’m a totally different type of apple.

I am never going to win their approval. I do all these things and am all these things that other people’s parents and families (even my extended family) think make me a phenomenal person. I am much more accepted by just about anyone else’s family than I am by my own. My friends are wonderful, unique, so-special-to-me, and accept me for who I am (whoever that is at the moment). They give me a swift kick in the tush when I need it. They are the siblings I wish I had. I love my brother, but no matter what I do, we are not close. I can’t change that either. My point is that it is very evident that I am a loveable human being by the people who know me the best, and even by people who barely know me. It is sometimes really shocking to me that the people who truly know me love me so much. 😉

Evidence is something I really like. I’m going to be a physician. I’m a very scientific and mathematically oriented woman. It’s just in my nature to appreciate things more so if they are tangible and evidence-based. So, based on evidence, I am likeable and a pretty good person. I deserve love. In comparison to how I felt about myself two years ago when I began therapy, or even a year or six months ago, I have an enormous amount of self-esteem. I’m going to try and figure out where it came from and will gladly share that when I figure it out.

I have enough self-esteem, enough skills, enough innate maternal instinct to self-parent myself in a loving and healthy way. I better get to stepping because I really am the best I’m going to get.

Love yourself as much as you can today,

Joy

I’ve been pondering this all morning. I feel better. I don’t feel any “older” per say, but I do feel more composed and capable of dealing with things. I’m the one all the “others” consider a morose, sullen teenager who is a “hot mess”. But, I don’t have flashbacks all the time anymore when I’m out (but I don’t get to come out often because no one trusts me to hold it together[-ish]). Instead of feeling totally hysterical and pained, I do feel a little angry. I’ve also been able to hold up my part of the no more self-harm bargain. I’m also more assertive & kinda demanded that I get to come out since it was a safe environment and our best guy friend was over & he’s safe. And he knows some of us. Most people don’t know me. Our parents know me, unfortunately, though. But, I’m starting to feel less shattered into a million pieces about them and more angry that they were so cruel. I was so good. This reminds me of me (and is something I played and sang over and over again when I lived with them):

“Perfect” ~Alanis Morrisette

I did everything I could do to be “perfect” for everyone. And it was never enough. But right now, it doesn’t feel like it’s gonna kill me. It feels unjust. I know I took the brunt of the crap that happened at home (and sometimes outside) while Joy was a teenager. And she remembers what happened to me (to us)… it’s not like there’s this huge dissociative brick wall between what happened and what she knows. At least the stuff that happened in her pre-teen and teen years. So I guess, 15, kept us alive & was a tough little bitch (who kept her mouth shut though bc as many of us know, the more you fight back, the worse it gets). And, I took all the feelings? I took all the hurt? I wrote all the sordid poetry, I did all the art. I hid when Dad’s car came around the corner.

I would like to share my art with you guys one day. I never shared it with anyone. And, a lot of it was destroyed (thank you parents for destroying my belongings), but a lot of it remains. It’s in a big tote box with all of Joy’s scrapbooking stuff. And 8’s art is in there too. Her Alice in Wonderland vase (it has a hand-carved by her white rabbit stamp on it) is on our coffee table. Anyway, I just wonder if I have genuinely gotten better, or if this is all a facade (all of my healing, my skills acquisition, and Joy likes to think we don’t exist sometimes too–so maybe we’re the facade)?

I hope you have a great day. I have to get ready to peace out and have a productive day. 😉

~16 (I have a name, I just don’t feel like sharing it)

*May trigger: Inpatient discussion, as well as mention of suicidality.*

I view inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations as mental health vacations (on the best of days) and holding cells for safety (when I’m not in such a pleasant mood). For some people, going “inpatient” is a whole different experience and is really therapeutic. But, with me, they never really know what to do with a suicidal trauma patient, so on gen. psych., they tend not to bother. I actually, at this point, prefer it that way.

“Don’t want your hand this time. I’ll save myself.” ~Evanescence

I’m not viewing an inpatient hospitalization as a poor experience for me. I go when I need to maintain safety and can’t do it with my skills and outside supports. I’d rather do that than be dead (as much pain as I’m in at that time & as much as I see that as the ONLY option, logically, somewhere–I know it’s not). By doing so, I have committed to safety, removed myself from my triggering environment, and have given myself a few days to figure out why I was downward spiraling. I do know why now, and it has mostly to do with fear of failure (aka going back to school, maintaining a real life, etc.) and interpersonal hurts. I had been downward spiraling for about 8 weeks and in a pit for about 3 weeks. At some point in time, I was going to have to do what was in my best interest, and continue with self-care. Now the fears to me felt like absolute terror, suffocation, and the hurts felt like the size of Texas because G-d forbid I have a feeling that isn’t at least as big as the county (this after reality checks, radical acceptance, mindfulness, and everything else up the wazoo). My flashbacks had increased, and they hurt like hell. I wasn’t able to contain them as well as usual, my skills were not working as well as they had been. I know why now, but at the time I couldn’t figure out why I was in some aspects doing very well, and in others falling apart (several times a day). My symptoms were huge, my flashbacks were huge, my urges were huge, and my progress was huge. It was oxymoronic to me.

Regardless, I am glad to have gotten a better grip on things. Self-care means more to me than do the old patterns of self-harm that are dying a slow painful death.

I’d like to thank the people closest to me for supporting me through another bump in the road. I’d especially like to thank my Mom, for stepping up to the plate now that I’m an adult (hey–better late than never!!!) and need her even more than when I was a kid now that I’m healing. And I’d like to say an exceptionally huge thank you to my best friend, Hope, for driving a 100 miles just to spend a little bit of time with me, and being my unbiological sister.

I hope you are all doing well and look forward to catching up on what I’ve missed while I was inpatient (and um, the week after I got out lol).

Peace and serenity to you,

Joy (and another who really wanted to put her 2 10 cents in lol)

The Black Sheep, The Sick Child

In the olden days (for me), before I got incredibly symptomatic, I was a feisty little thing. I still am, but I feel like I have diverted my own fire to learned skills, coping, self-care, etc. I hated being told that I couldn’t do something. And, as many of us have likely experienced, we were told we couldn’t, or would never make it, in whatever capacity, quite often. I plowed through hs and college because I was told I’d never make it and would flip burgers for the rest of my life. I never worked in fast food, but good G-d did my father want me to fail miserably at everything. That’s what happens with sick parents, they want to kill the light within their children, starting from an early age–so hopefully by the time it’s time for their child to “fly on their own”, their wings are too broken and they remain “the sick child”.  It diverts ever-so-much attention from the sick, dysfunctional family. I choose not to be “the sick one”. I’ve been working for several years in therapy without my abusers, two years particularly on my trauma disorder and any associated issues. My entire life isn’t going to be like this. This has just been the ugly part. The undoing of my entire psychological and some of my personality sweater only to be re-knit in a healthier way without the same disgusting messages about who I am woven in between. I’m not by any means done “re-knitting”. I’ve got a long way to go. But, I’ve come a long way. And when I’m symptomatic, I know why and at least a good portion of the time, how to cope (sometimes alone, sometimes reaching out to my awesome supports). Bad things happened, but I am not to blame for them, and patient is not all that I am. I’m terrified, but I’m desperately trying to carve a life out for myself that includes all the good things I’m doing to get better, but also includes reclaiming my life, and altering the old one I was living. I just want to live, as frightening as that may be to me.

“I learned that courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” -Nelson Mandela

Wishing I was fearless, but at least I have courage (and a red cape… but that’s a whole ‘nother story). Have a great day if you so choose! =)

Love,

Joy… and some others 😉

All I want is for some semblance of normalcy, to be well enough to get through the day, not have my symptoms follow me incessantly, and to return to and do well in school. I worked so hard with the facade going on for decades and now I feel very stuck. It’s like I made it out, but I want to be more than what I made it out from. I want to live the life I crafted for myself, the one I have the intellect and many other qualities for and yet it seems so evasive. And to be quite honest, it pisses me the hell off. That’s it! It makes me very angry. I feel a lot of other things, but the root is anger. Especially today I just wanna be like, screw you (past, symptoms, old patterns of behavior, I could go all day), I want to LIVE my life!

**This is a portion of a comment I left on Hope’s blog. It so clearly defined how I feel, I really wanted to share it here. I have more to say, but I want to gather my thoughts, and cope with my anger in a healthy way before I share any more.**

Wishing you an awesome day,

Joy

I’m sorry I lied

Hi. I just wanted to tell you that this is all a lie. The others and Joy might get mad or sad because I said that, but I don’t care. Nothing happened with grandpa. He just gave us gum. The others still hate that gum, but I just want it back. It was so yummy. And he would let us play with the teeth models downstairs and tell us how smart we were and how we were his favorite.

Daddy was kinda mean. But, that’s because we were so bad. We took too long with everything. Homework, piano practice, clarinet, “perfect practice makes perfect”. If we didn’t get 100 like in Geometry when Joy was 8, she got a 92, he said “where are the other fucking 8 points”? But, that’s because we weren’t perfect. And we didn’t do our chores fast enough or perfect enough. So anything that happened was our fault. We knew the rules, and even if we worked really hard at them, we didn’t “stick to them” like Daddy said. So what happened with Daddy wasn’t all a lie, and we kept our mouth shut like we were supposed to and then school people kept asking questions. So if we told one little thing, they would call home and things would get worse. I think that’s all I have to say. Sorry for lying.

From, 7