Just a Girl and a Plan

I’m working on something I think is the hardest undertaking I have tried. This includes admitting to people I attempted suicide, was raped which resulted in a pregnancy that lead to a miscarriage, was sexually assaulted, abused, and have mental illnesses. Harder than trying to determine the start of anything I write.

I’m starting a journey. Queue music.

Just a small town girl, livin’ in a lonely world.  …  Streetlight people, looking just to find emotion… Don’t stop believing hold on to…

I am on a journey already. I’m working on myself, on self acceptance. This is different than self esteem, which is like being your own cheerleader, using accolades and achievements to build yourself up. In layman terms, self-esteem is  giving yourself high-fives. (Seriously, you might dislocate that shoulder of yours if you keep patting yourself on the back so much buddy. I’m sure though if one little thing went wrong, that esteem will plummet and you’d feel shattered, and need to start all over again.)

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Self acceptance is different. It’s about accepting yourself. You don’t pat yourself on the back or try to high-five yourself. (After all, that looks silly and you might hit yourself in the face.) Instead, self-acceptance is looking at yourself, everything about you, and learning to accept it, live with it, embrace it. Or something like that anyways. You learn your strengths and weaknesses and you’re okay with them. Think of the dictionary definitions — willingness to tolerate, action of consenting, action or process of being received as acceptable — and apply that oneself. That’s what I’m trying to do.

That’s what I’m trying to do.

There’s so much about me that I need to accept. A fraking laundry list of issues to deal with, to accept. (Oh BSG how I miss you.)

This isn’t to say I haven’t started to accept myself, or that I’m just beginning. It’s a journey that has been ongoing for a while actually, but I’m only just realizing that this is what I have been doing.

So, that laundry list. Would you like to see some of it?

Depression and anxiety, PTSD, Fibromyalgia, being raped, assaulted and sexually assaulted, abuse, relationships failing one after the other, suicide attempt, self harming, miscarriage of my rapist’s baby, being cut off from family, losing friends, that time I was homeless for a bit, a lifetime of being bullied, at times having issues with alcohol…

This isn’t the full. I mean, let’s be real here, dealing with all of that, I’ve never had self-esteem, never been my own cheerleader. So, how can I actually accept myself or start to?

By realizing that while the past has changed me, I cannot change the past. It’s as simple as that. Some pretty shitastical things have happened to me and there are only two choices presented.

First option:  play the victim and let these things dictate my entire life, keeping trapped as the victim.

Second option: realize and accept that these things have happened, put on my big girl panties, and keep on moving.

I have chosen. I’ve chosen to accept accept and keep moving. I’m accepting, well learning to accept myself. This includes the past events and the things I vastly dislike about myself. They are what create me, this beautifully ugly, quirky, scarred, person that is writing this.

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I am getting semi okay with this acceptance thing. Take for example my self esteem level. It’s never been high, okay, it’s closer to non existent than anything else. I’m not okay that it causes me to shy away from a lot of things, including trying to expand my circle of acquaintances, but I’ve accepted that I am like this. So this mean though that I just shrug my shoulders at it, let it be, and keep doing what I always do, right?

Wrong. Catastrophically wrong.

This is where the hard work part starts for me. See, I’ve learned that with self acceptance, there is more than just stating to yourself “That’s just how I am” or “That’s just life”. Some work is involved. Ugh, yes one of the worst four letter words to ever be used. Work. You need to accept the reality, the reality of the situation or aspect that you are accepting.

So, I have accepted that I have almost nil self esteem. I’m just going to ignore this now, okay? Guess again, I need to now look at it. Why is my self esteem in such a state? Bully for almost my entire life, especially when I was younger caused this. Most importantly the constant put downs from a sibling hurt my self esteem the most, making me feel worthless. Great, so now I’m just not going to talk to anyone to avoid any further damage. Not quite. I’ve now realized where this came from, which is improvement, however I now have a fork in the road. I can shrug it off, pretend that it doesn’t exist, and stay as I am, complacent, OR I can give the bullies the middle finger, and see if there are any changes I can make.

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Honestly, I haven’t quite made a move at the fork. This is the start of journey, and as much as I love showing people my amazingly crooked knuckle middle fingers (I have broken my fingers just a few times, or 10), I don’t know how yet. Am I going to just sit there, or will I try to make changes? Can I change how I feel regarding my self esteem or the way I think people perceive me?

This is really where my journey is beginning. I’m just past the dizzying circle of the Yellow Brick Road winding through town, and I’m now outside, heading towards the Emerald City, with a long way to go.

What will I discover and accept? What further choices will I make?

 

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I Am Tired

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I’m not a stranger to suicide. Yes I think about it from time to time, and yes, I’ve attempted it before. People have told me how suicide is selfish, it’s not the answer, there are better ways to handle things, but have they ever wondered why I’ve felt it was the only way out, my only option?

Because I couldn’t be strong anymore. I was tired. Emotionally, mentally, and physically tired.

I was forced to be strong, I didn’t acquire this because I wanted to. I was forced to by other people’s actions. When I was raped and too afraid, too embarrassed to tell anyone what happened. When my rape resulted in pregnancy and then later a miscarriage. Or the former boyfriend that was abusive. What about having family stop speaking to me. Or even the most recent assault that happened last week.

I had no one to rely on. No one to lean onto for support. My support came from me. If I didn’t stay up, didn’t keep moving, there was no one behind me to assist me. I had to do this on my own. Had to be my own backup support system, my own cheerleader, and was fucking tiring.

My mind was a dark place. Full of self doubt, criticism, victimization. If I wasn’t thinking it, I had heard it from others, and it was on replay in my head. It wouldn’t leave. The nightmares were constant as I kept replaying everything that happened to me. I’d hear others talk about people in my same situation, blaming them for what happened, reemphasizing that it was my fault, I caused it to happen. cv

I could no longer control how I felt or thought. I would cut, hit, scratch, or burn myself just to control how I felt and when I felt. I would scream as long and loud as I could into pillows or in the woods trying to get the empty out of me, releasing the blackness.

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Not having anyone, made it so much easier to decide what to do. No one would miss me. No one even noticed all of the changes in me. Withdrawn and quiet. Not interested in anything. Drinking a lot. Sleeping if I wasn’t working. Increasingly was doing things more and more dangerously, recklessly. It wasn’t noticed. So it was so easy to slip away at a party, take those pills and alcohol, and wish for sweet oblivion.

It was an escape from the never ending hopelessness that I was going through. It was a way to finally take a break from being strong. It allowed the mind to become quiet.

Funny thing is, I can look back on what it was like then, and see myself in the same situation now. I can easily turn those verbs from a past tense into a present one, and have how I am today. I’m going through the same situations, and again, have only myself for strength and support here. Who is here to turn to but myself.

I’m tired of being strong. I’ve been strong too long.

 

12 Years Later: An Open Letter to My Rapist

 

Mr Ironic for Sexual Assault Awareness Month
The Jerk That Destroyed Me
The Guy That Raped Me
My Rapist


To The Guy That Changed My Life,

Twelve years ago today, you possessed me, took me, and started an invasion that went into my  mind as well. Do you even remember me? Do you remember what you did to me

You took advantage of me. You drugged me and didn’t take no for an answer. There was no consent given, but that didn’t stop you. You raped me.

It was a week before my 21st birthday, and you destroyed the girl that I was then. Shattered her beyond repair.

Do you know that you were almost a father again? That’s right, you left a “gift” behind,  a constant reminder of what you had done. I found out on Mother’s Day. Ironic isn’t it? Ruined that holiday for me as all I had wanted was a family of my own, yet the only family I was going to have was the child of the guy that raped  me. It’s okay though, apparently fate took control as I had a miscarriage right after I had decided I had wanted to keep the baby. It was not that child’s fault.

I would scream and cry, wasting tears on you, while I was in the shower or had music up so loud so no one would hear. I felt dirty, used, worthless. I hurt beyond words and had no control. I shut down, becoming an emotional zombie, allowing no emotions to be felt.

When I wanted to feel something, on my own terms, I would cut, punch, scratch, or burn myself. If it hurt me, then I would do it. I had control that way.

I bet you didn’t know that I had made a New Year’s Resolution at the end of that year? I tried to commit suicide. TRIED. I was rather unsuccessful, obviously as I’m here writing this to you. I didn’t want to be in the darkness I had fallen so far into. I wanted the hold you had on me gone. The anger and hate, sadness and hopelessness, I wanted it all gone. I needed the memories and images gone, the flashbacks that wouldn’t end to disappear.

 

I never told anyone what happened to me. I was embarrassed that you had this control on me. I didn’t want to admit that I needed rescuing to anyone. I didn’t like that I was now a victim, helpless. I thought I was better than that. I could not bring myself to say “Save me, I need help.”

I did it though, despite you. I saved myself. I became a survivor, a fighter. I grew stronger and took control. I fought for my survival. I had to, as my only other choice was taken away from me, suicide. I sought help at the rape center. I learned that the only hold you had on me was the one I created in my mind.

I broke it.

I tore you away as if you were nothing, because that’s what you are. You are not worth a single thought. You don’t have control of me. You mean nothing to me.

How does it feel to have the tables turned? You treated me as if I was nothing, and now you are nothing.

You know, if it wasn’t for you, I would not be the person that I am today. I wouldn’t be strong. I would not be the fighter that I am, nor would I be able to love and accept myself, in turn letting myself love others. I now believe in myself. I kick ass now.

For that, I thank you, but I still hate and despise you, like the worthless fuck you are,
Your Former Victim
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Out of the Darkness – Pittsburgh

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Once upon a time, a Stormtrooper introduced me to an organization called The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It took a little bit for me to look into everything, as I was one to refuse to admit I had attempted suicide. I’m still here, so it was a failure, and I do not like to admit failure. When I admitted to myself that I went through that and was ready to share, I took a look at the foundation.

I wish I would have known about them when I needed them that New Year’s Eve.

There are many others out there that are currently affected by suicide, either from struggling with the thoughts, or trying to cope with the loss of a someone they know from suicide. American Foundation for Suicide Awareness is there to help. If you look at their homepage, you have the options to look at Understanding and Preventing Suicide, Help with Coping from a Loss, Advocacy and Public Policy, Research, News, and Ways to Give. One of these ways to give is through your local chapter’s Out of the Darkness Walk. I took the plunge despite only having a short period of time to fund raise and created a team, The Tutu Convention.

The name come from the wonderful mind of Rara, and a conversation her and I had. She had shared how her niece told her that the reason she was sad was because she was not wearing her tutu. This promptly lead to me sharing a picture of the Eh Bee family all wearing tutus. This promptly lead to us discussing how there should be a blogging convention BITCon (Bloggers in Tutus Convention). It would be the happiest convention ever. Well since I cannot put this convention together at the moment, I’m doing the next best thing, I’m going to participate in this walk wearing a Tutu. Thus the team name is Tutu Convention.

Eh Bee Tutu Power

Eh Bee Tutu Power

I strongly encourage all to check out their local chapters and become involved. I’ve signed to volunteer to speak and work at events, as well as become an advocate for this organization. I try to educate all that I can. Therefore, I’m education you. Please, take the time to look at their website, as well as check out my team page (or the Stormtrooper’s as well), and either join if you’re in the area, or donate and share the page. Help those that need this organization.

My Team Page
My Personal Page
Stormtrooper’s Page
American Foundation’s Page

It Isn’t All Physical

DISCLAIMER: I apologize for the blocks of text, but this is something I have been wanting to say.

Something that I don’t mention often is abuse, and more specifically, Psychological (mental, emotional, verbal) Abuse. It’s much harder to spot than physical abuse, but just as, if not more, destructive. Just think, there are no marks to look for, as it’s all internal, mentally and emotionally leaving bruises and scars.
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It’s hard to admit when you’re in this type of situation. I admit I was raped, and that’s a type of abuse, sexual abuse, yet do you know how long it takes to admit I was in an abusive relationship? To give you an idea, I have only start to come to terms with it, and that’s only because of therapy and an outside perspective.

psychological abuse

Emotional abuse, mental abuse A form of mistreatment in which there is intent to causemental or emotional pain or injury; PA includes verbal aggression, statements intended to humiliate or infantilize, insults, threats of abandonment or institutionalization; PA results in stress, social withdrawal, long-term or recalcitrant depression, anxiety – McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002

Psychological abuse is also referred to as emotional and mental abuses. It targets and works in a few different ways and they all seem subtle. I personally feel that it is worse than physical abuse because it affects us mentally, making us undermine and change how we view ourselves. It can happen in all aspects of life, whether it’s from family members, work mates, romantic partners, or in the case of some, school mates. So how can you start to recognize it?

Let’s break it down into some groups of the forms that this type of abuse can take.

Intimidation and Degradation
Just imagine everything that makes up who you are, your core values and your personality traits. Makes you feel good knowing who you are doesn’t it? Now, take that, and imagine if you were constantly ridiculed, belittled, or put down about whats you who you are. You are starting to question if you’re good enough aren’t you? Suddenly everything that happens to you is a joke, and if you react negatively to it, you are too sensitive. Nothing about you is good enough, your thoughts an opinions mean nothing and are wrong. Now imagine that not only does this happen privately, but more so in front of others. Feeling really great now aren’t you? Remember though, this may seem  negative now, but this will just build character and make you stronger. They are only telling you that your fat because they want you to feel better and get healthy.
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Passive Aggressive Behavior of Emotional Support and Nurturance
This one is a little hard to describe for me, so bare with me here as this one is one of the most subtle tactics, therefore one of the most damaging I believe. Imagine you are having a normal heated couple’s argument. In the middle of it, out of nowhere, your partner yells how their mother was snubbed the last time at a gathering, and how no one is allowed to treat their mother like that, it’s unacceptable. Random, out of the blue as it had nothing to do with what you were arguing over. Suddenly you start thinking about that, what does it have to do with this? Then it moves to, Oh god, it must have been me. That leads you to think that this must be why your partner is mad. It is your fault, this whole mess was brought upon because of you. Partner’s anger is a result of your behavior. However then your partner is telling you that they understand it’s hard for you to be polite, after all, they grew up in a loving environment, but you, you are damaged, however they love you. How could any of this be from hate, they love you, they’re understanding.  (TBH, I don’t have much experience that I remember with this one, so harder for me to descibe.)

Isolation and Restricting
I think this one and the follow one are easy to recognize and go almost hand in hand. This is pretty easy to imagine. Every time you want to go to the store or just out for a walk, they are with you. They’re screening your phone calls, or not even letting you talk to friends and family any more. The extent of how and when you go outside is limited to whether or not they are with you. And if they’re not with you, you’re not going out. Pretty simple, but there are undermining ways to do this. “I’m making sure that no one bothers you and that you’re safe.” “Why can’t you do that at home, I miss you when you’re gone and it’s less time that we spend together.” “We can do that together as a couple’s bonding thing.” Yeah, I’ve heard all of that before.
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Control or Domination
No, not the kinky kind you weirdo. I’m referring to the most obvious tactic that is used, controlling/dominating. You can see this usually within 4 areas, decision making, relationships, activities, and self-image. I feel that this one, and isolation go hand in hand. Think about it for a minute. In decision making, you are not longer allowed to make the decisions because you just make bad ones anyways, your opinions don’t matter. And what you are doing and with whom, well that’s already been decided, you’re not allowed to choose. This weekend you are going to be with your partners friends at the baseball game you didn’t want to go to. You wanted to go to your friend’s house and see their new baby. Nope, not allowed, after all, they were just at the hospital and might have something, and you know you don’t want to get sick. Besides, they really are a bad influence on you and don’t bring out your best side. (See how much they care about you? Keeping you so safe from the bad influences and environments your friends create, as well as making sure you’re not sick for work later.) You know that movie you and your friends wanted to see, that’s not a great idea. It’s late at night, and the subject of that movie is not what you should be viewing anyways. They make it seem like they can conquer the world, and yet you cannot handle one little issue. They’ll build you up, and then tear you right back down. a77fc699b08f4388ef1e5a67855bbd95

These are just some of the forms, and ways you can see psychological abuse taking place. They’re just guidelines from experience and what was provided to me from my therapists. I think the one thing to take away, be aware. This happens, and it’s manipulating. After looking back over this, I was abused my entire life, by my sister. She is the master manipulator, the queen of putting others down, and trying to control you, and I did not stand a chance. No wonder my self esteem is non existent. I mean honestly, since almost the day I was born, I have been in the way, cannot do anything right, destroy any vacation, and no one wants to be around me. She was worse than the boyfriend that was being an abuser. She makes him look like a saint.

Below is a list of things to look at if you think yourself, or someone you know, is in a psychologically abusive relationship.

  • Humiliation, degradation, discounting, negating. judging, criticizing:
    Does anyone make fun of you or put you down in front of others?
    Do they tease you, use sarcasm as a way to put you down or degrade you?
    When you complain do they say that “it was just a joke” and that you are too sensitive?
    Do they tell you that your opinion or feelings are “wrong?”
    Does anyone regularly ridicule, dismiss, disregard your opinions, thoughts, suggestions, and feelings?
  • Domination, control, and shame:
    Do you feel that the person treats you like a child?
    Do they constantly correct or chastise you because your behavior is “inappropriate?”
    Do you feel you must “get permission” before going somewhere or before making even small decisions?
    Do they control your spending?
    Do they treat you as though you are inferior to them?
    Do they make you feel as though they are always right?
    Do they remind you of your shortcomings?
    Do they belittle your accomplishments, your aspirations, your plans or even who you are?
    Do they give disapproving, dismissive, contemptuous, or condescending looks, comments, and behavior?
  • Accusing and blaming, trivial and unreasonable demands or expectations, denies own shortcomings:
    Do they accuse you of something contrived in their own minds when you know it isn’t true?
    Are they unable to laugh at themselves?
    Are they extremely sensitive when it comes to others making fun of them or making any kind of comment that seems to show a lack of respect?
    Do they have trouble apologizing?
    Do they make excuses for their behavior or tend to blame others or circumstances for their mistakes?
    Do they call you names or label you?
    Do they blame you for their problems or unhappiness?
    Do they continually have “boundary violations” and disrespect your valid requests?
  • Emotional distancing and the “silent treatment,” isolation, emotional abandonment or neglect:
    Do they use pouting, withdrawal or withholding attention or affection?
    Do they not want to meet the basic needs or use neglect or abandonment as punishment?
    Do they play the victim to deflect blame onto you instead of taking responsibility for their actions and attitudes?
    Do they not notice or care how you feel?
    Do they not show empathy or ask questions to gather information?
  • Codependence and enmeshment:
    Does anyone treat you not as a separate person but instead as an extension of themselves?
    Do they not protect your personal boundaries and share information that you have not approved?
    Do they disrespect your requests and do what they think is best for you?
    Do they require continual contact and haven’t developed a healthy support network among their own peers?
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There are both short and long term effects that result from Psychological abuse:

Short Term

  • Surprise and confusion
  • Questioning of one’s own memory, “did that really happen?”
  • Anxiety or fear; hypervigilence
  • Shame or guilt
  • Aggression (as a defense to the abuse)
  • Becoming overly passive or compliant
  • Frequent crying
  • Avoidance of eye contact
  • Feeling powerless and defeated as nothing you do ever seems to be right (learned helplessness)
  • Feeling like you’re “walking on eggshells”
  • Feeling manipulated, used and controlled
  • Feeling undesirable

Long Term

  • Depression
  • Withdrawal
  • Low self-esteem and self-worth
  • Emotional instability
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Physical pain without cause
  • Suicidal ideation, thoughts or attempts
  • Extreme dependence on the abuser
  • Underachievement
  • Inability to trust
  • Feeling trapped and alone
  • Substance abuse

This is not a fun list at all, and can completely destroy someone. I strong capable man or woman can become a person that is barely existing. It can take years or a lifetime to overcome these problems if at all. So if you know someone that is going through this, just be there for them, and make sure that they know it’s not their fault, they’re not to blame. Help them be themselves, but for goodness sake, don’t belittle them, please.

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