28 August 2016…
2 April 2015 I was checked into the ER for evaluation. I still remember the panic attack because I was standing two feet from a male who wasn’t my Isaac. The room had nearly ten people in it and I couldn’t breathe. I shook from head to toe, and it was all I could do to answer their questions. They settled me into a wheel chair and turned my back to the room. With my Isaac in front of me, only he, I could breathe. We sat there for three hours. No one could see us until midnight. The worse part…it was my Isaac’s birthday.
They wheeled me into a waiting room. I had a bed and a blanket. There was a sheet hanging for a faux wall. We were there for nearly two hours. A male doctor came in. I remember only that he touched me in a way you should never touch a rape victim. My husband was furious and calmed me down from another panic attack. I stared into his eyes and he grounded me. I laid down holding his hand. Later a man came into the ER screaming. I was up, terrified, shaking all over. I couldn’t breathe. Again my husband held my face and calmed me down. “He’s a drunk. He’d just a drunk. They’re kicking him out. He’s trying to get free meds to get high.” My husband worked as an EMT in Boston for three years. He had seen stuff like this all the time.
At 2:00 AM, they finally called me in. I walked down the hall of the mental ward. Only women were checked in. As I was brought to my room, a woman clearly not well called out to me. “You’re very beautiful.” How I hate those words. If I hadn’t been beautiful, I wouldn’t have had half the hell I had. Bullied for being overweight or ugly or raped for being attractive. I wanted to rip my breasts from my chest.
I was escorted into a room. I curled up into the chair and pulled my legs to my chest. My scarf was draped over my shoulders. My long hair spilled down my shoulders, over my knees, and down my legs. A man entered the room, and closed the door behind him.
At once I couldn’t breathe.
He opened the door leaving it open a crack and I calmed.
He asked me a lot of questions. Why was I there.
“My husband has been talking to a therapist. She knows her field. My husband asked about 9/11 and she answered, “She’s going to need help with that one.” Who am I to argue? She’s the professional. If she says I need help…then I need help. I agreed to go to the hospital. I thought I was fine…Until I had to leave my bedroom.
I slipped on my shoes. Severe anxiety greeted me. My husband walked me downstairs. Even the walls looked strange. The kitchen that was mine…It was like I didn’t know this place. He led me outside, and I broke. I couldn’t breathe, but my husband led me to the car. I felt enveloped by fear, closing in. We drove for twenty minutes then he walked me to the mental ward. We opened the doors and there were the men, the people, I couldn’t breathe.”
He asked me all sorts of things, but I only remember how I must have looked to him, how I looked to everyone then. A frail elf stepped from the pages of a fairy book. Too easily crushed by the world. Many people had described me that way…like I was something from a dream touched by moonlight kisses. This is what the abuse had made me. This is what those monsters had done to me.
I was sent home. “She has nested…It’s what shut-ins do. Taking them out of their nest can cause more trauma than leaving them there for now.”
They scheduled an appointment with my doctor and I was to see her the next day.
4 April 2015
The door of the white room opened and my doctor entered. This doctor was the woman who I had known since I was 12. She watched me grow up. Watched me smile and talk about all my art. This woman was like a mother to me. Here I was 35. For 23 years she watched over my health.
I watched the horror in her eyes as I began to tell her the truth.
How my brother had beaten me. How the animals were ripped apart before my eyes. How I was thrown away by my mum, loathed by my father, raped by my “boyfriend,” then groomed by a pedophile.
She was devastated. I could see the blame in her eyes she held for herself. “I’m your doctor,” she said. “How did I not see this?”
My husband spoke for me. He too had known me since I was 12. “She hid it from all of us,” he said. “None of us knew.”
PTSD was the first conclusion. She prescribed a medication to reduce my anxiety. I could be looking at a three to six week wait for a therapist. I was sent to the mental facility and evaluated.
5 April 2015
I entered the office. The smell in the air struck me and I wanted to run. I couldn’t place the smell, but it was a trigger.
This day was the hardest day of my life. I filled out the paperwork. I remember being surprised by some of the questions.
“Do you have nightmares? How often?”
My whole life. 5…6 years old. I remember the dream of my step-brother, crawling into a hot oven with my doll. I watched him place its face down on the red coils. I snatched it back, but its face was a deformed mess. I woke the next morning terrified of my brother and dolls. To this day, I detest dolls. Looking back…Now I see it…that isn’t normal. I was 6 years old when I dreamed that.
A lady called me into a room with a computer. The room was large. She was pregnant and I calmed right down. For two hours, she asked me questions and we dove deep into every little thing that every happened to me. For those two hours, I relived my story. I remembered it all. I had just written Broken. It was all very vivid in my mind.
Whatever I said to her bumped me up the list. Two weeks later, I was placed with a therapist. Judith. I was entered into the system and an appointment scheduled. 2 May 2015. The pedophile’s birthday.
2 May 2015
That first sessions, I will never forget. She asked me right off, “Tell me about your other therapists. What happened?”
I described how I had been in a room with a panel of people. 8…10 adults sat around the table. I was 8 and alone with them. They were asking me questions about my life. I told them the truth. My brother beat me. They seemed very interested in this and asked me more, so I told them. I told them everything. The next thing I remember was my mother scolding me for lying. She told me they didn’t believe me because I was a liar and they knew that.
“You do realize that your mother may have lied to them?”
“Yes,” I said. “I see that now.”
She asked about my other therapists, how I was pulled into a meeting in 9th grade and a cop and my therapist sat there. The cop told me if I become pregnant, he is dragging my ass to jail for rape. My therapist sat there and did nothing. I still have no idea who turned me in.
“I was the one being raped by that boy. Threatened to turn me back over to my brother if I didn’t sleep with him. He threatened to kill someone I liked if I didn’t do as he said.” Out of fear, I behaved.
Fear. That is what really enslaved me to all my abuse. I am a victim of fear.
I couldn’t breathe. I rocked in the chair and cried, shaking my head in confusion.
“Look at me,” she said. “Look into my eyes.”
I forced myself to obey.
“You are here,” she said to me. “You need to remind yourself that you are here. Touch the chair. You are here now. You are not there anymore. Look in my eyes. See me. Stay here. You are safe now. ”
This was the first thing I learned. Keep the past in the past. Keep my mind in the present. They were memories now. Just memories. I am safe now.
I left that first therapy session trusting Judith.
28 August 2016
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot of where I was and where I am now. Some days, it boggles my mind. My nightmares are almost all gone. I adore my Isaac. He’s still here. Now that things have calmed down—and they have—he is now able to heal from his own traumas (another story for another time). We spend every morning swimming. We all are taking great care of our mental and physical health. Mostly, I’m “making it up” to my body for all the abuse I personally have given her. From starvation, to hatred, to neglect—mostly neglect—then to purposely gaining weight to punish my body. I’m now shedding the weight (I’ve lost nearly five inches and ten pounds), and have, at long last, found peace with my body.
The pedophile is still at large. It is my dream to see him behind bars. The rapist boyfriend recently was arrested for meth trafficking. He had turned his driveway into a public meth lab where a team found twelve batches of meth made up. He is looking at 20 years in federal prison.
The step-brother who beat me no longer exists. The father I thought I had…There were conclusions I had made based on the lies I was taught by a mother who was too horrifically scarred from her own rapes.
Now and then, a car backfires or a door slams and I jump. But I can calm myself down now. I still can’t hear about animal abuse. I simply hurt too much for them. Movies with sex still trigger me. This is one trigger I think I will have for the rest of my life. It is one I hate the most. It means I will never be able to watch shows like Game of Thrones or Sex in the City.
Now that all the hurt and scars have been washed away, a new kind of event has surfaced. I have yet to talk about it. I just can’t bring myself to acknowledge her. I hate her. I know that much. When she’s here, I can’t control her. My thoughts become powerless things in the back of my mind. It’s like, my own voice becomes the conscience and she…whatever she is…becomes the persona that everyone sees. She likes cigarettes and alcohol and sex. She likes bar hopping and swearing. She likes rock and roll and skinny dipping and orgies. She likes being dirty. She scares me more than anything else I’ve seen. When she’s here, whatever I think becomes a quiet voice in the back of her mind she promptly ignores. She scares me to death.