Sinking

I feel as though I’m drowning. I always feel as though I’m drowning. I’ve been trying to do more of what I love. I’ve been acting and doing photography. It has been serving as distraction more than anything else. I can’t make myself happy anymore. I’m not sure I was ever really able to make myself happy, actually. It was more that I could use other things to make me happy. I drink to feel happy. I smoke to ease my anxiety, stress, nerves. I once felt happy by luring in men, receiving attention, having sex and convincing myself it was love. I’ve just always wanted so desperately to feel loved. I know there are those who love me. I have friends who love me. It is just so hard to believe that people love me. I feel so worthless all the time. Nothing fills this void. I just don’t know what to do to with this gaping hole in my chest. My Mother doesn’t love me or can’t love me or can’t love anyone. She rarely speaks to me and when she does her words slice into me. She has broken me in such a way, I don’t know how to put myself together. I feel as though I am a waste of life. Would that I could take my time and give it to someone who deserves it, someone who wouldn’t waste it suffering, drowning. I can’t disappear as I once could. I was so angry for so very long and I got comfortable there. I hid in my anger. Now that I’ve let it go I don’t know what to do. I just feel sad all the time. I don’t feel like moving or waking up or doing anything. I just want to live and die in my bed. I don’t want to put on clothing or brush my teeth or look at myself in the mirror. I don’t want to go outside. I don’t want to see people. On the best of days, I still have thoughts of ending it all. I imagine what it would be like to drive my car off the bridge. I can so clearly see my car going over the edge, crashing into the ocean, teetering for a moment, then sinking beneath the surface. Water begins rushing into the car, the pressure against the doors too much to open them, windows won’t roll down. Would I be terrified, sobbing, regretting my decision, or would I accept my death? When my Mother tried to kill me, I fought back. She sat on top of me, pinning me to the floor. I screamed. I clawed and scratched until she’d pinned my arms down as well. I was trapped. I couldn’t move. Her weight on me was too much. I remember the floor, hard and cold, the way my head and shoulders ached from being slammed against the tile. She pressed her shin hard against my throat. I choked out the words “can’t breathe”, upon which she laughed and said, “Good. Die bitch.” I continued to struggle, trying to free myself. There came a moment, when I couldn’t fight anymore. I was so dizzy. I was blacking out. In that moment I knew I was going to die. I lay there. I accepted my fate. When my Father suddenly burst in and pulled her off of me, I rolled upon my side choking in the air. My eyes readjusted to the scene as I watched her lunge back towards me and saw my Father grabbing her from behind, forcing her into a chokehold to keep her off of me. I just don’t understand. I can’t understand. The logical part of me understands that she is mentally unstable and needs to be hospitalized. The rest of me just can’t square with the fact that she actually tried to kill me. She pinned me down, sat upon my chest, leg against my windpipe, and as I struggled to breathe she told me to die. My head understands that she has issues, but my heart can’t understand what could move a Mother to want to kill her child. I’m not enough. I’m never enough. No matter what I do I’m crushed by the weight of her disapproval. She can’t love me. It hurts. It all hurts. I have flashbacks everyday. Every goddamned day I walk down the stairs into my kitchen where it happened. Everyday I walk down there and I see and feel everything I felt then. I walk into the big house and I have flashbacks from childhood. Every corner of this place is haunted by memories. My head hurts and my heart hurts and I just want to die. I just want to set the place on fire and watch it burn. I want to burn with it. I am broken. I need to be hospitalized as a result of what has been done to me. I want to be positive and happy again. I want to be sunny. I need to get help.

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Taking the bad days along with the good

This week has been a rather extreme mix of good and bad. I shall begin with the good. I am in The Footlight Players production of “Camelot” that will open end of this summer. I’ve been cast as ensemble, which isn’t bad considering I’ve been absent from theatre for over five years now. Rehearsals take up most nights of the week and I’m absolutely falling in love with a few fellow cast members. I had forgotten what it felt like to be surrounded by people as liquid and maleable as myself. I often feel alone and misunderstood, this is a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder and I believe this is also common among those in the artistic community. Being surrounded by people who, like myself randomly burst into song and enjoy pretending to be someone else… Well, suddenly I feel acceptance and understanding again in a way that I’ve not felt with anyone else except other trauma survivors. I believe community in terms of trauma is incredibly important, but I also believe that one must have feelings of understanding and acceptance elsewhere in the world. Everything cannot be tied to our trauma, as we are working to overcome it. Friends are wonderful support systems. However, often it seems our friends are our opposite in many ways, and though you share many interests, you’ve separate passions. This is when one must find her own place in the world, among people whose pursuits are of a simliar nature. My place is most definitely among fellow actors. They play with me, inspire me, and challenge me. I am thrilled to be involved in theatre again.

On with the bad! I am a very honest person. So much so that many people have been hurt by my honesty in the past. I don’t really know how to be any different and I don’t really want to be. I’ve always appreciated the truth from others, even when the truth was impossibly hard to hear. I’d rather receive a harsh truth than an easy lie. I value people with the strength to tell it like it is, rather than tell it how you want it to be. I request this from people I’m close to  and in return they know they can receive it from me. I lost someone recently who I thought was a friend. I know my honesty took major part in that, but I don’t regret being brutal. I feel as though my friend needed to hear what I had to say. I hope she steps outside of herself long enough to consider some of my words. I will not mourn losing her, but be grateful for what we had. What can I say? I’ve changed. We changed. It turns out that some friendships don’t survive change. I hope that in the years to come I can reflect happily on the decade we spent together. The decade we were there for each other. The decade we grew up.

Now to address the truly awful… My means of transportation would seem parked for the foreseeable future. I hydroplaned into the wall of an interstate off ramp the other night. I was not driving fast and I am fine. The cosmetic damage to my car was minimal, however real damage done to the car is still awaiting an inspection by a good mechanic. I’d rather not hash out the details of it’s disrepair, as it would only continue to scare me out of my wits. I’m going to drive it, albeit very slowly, to the shop tomorrow. I’ll likely spend all the money I have just on a diagnosis. My primary concern is whether or not my car is fixable. Should it not be, I’ll be at a complete loss as of what to do. It is over a decade old and would definitely not sell at a good price, thereby my only option is to fix it. So that simply has to be an option. I have to have the possibility to do so. Should there be an omnipotent supreme being floating around the celestial orbed sky often referred to as the heavens, it is in this hour that I most require his assistance. I call upon you Lord, please provide some assistance in this my hour of need. I do hope someday I might love you as I am told you love me.

My name is Jordan. I am a twenty-five year old woman living in Charleston, SC. I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as the result of years of abuse. I am  taking the bad days with the good and just trying to find a happy medium.

The Road Is Rough

Something I’ve realized about trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression is that it has to get a lot worse before it can get any better. Someone recently expressed to me that due to the intensity of and increasing number of posts on this blog, they felt I was becoming consumed by it all. Well, yes and no. You seem to be confused about my journey on the road to becoming mentally healthy. I’m all too familiar with the exquisite pain of being consumed by trauma. I’ve spent years locked inside myself scared and alone and without a key, without the knowledge of how to escape my prison. I was terrified of the things I’d experienced. I was terrified that I myself was mentally ill due to the way I function or rather don’t always function due to my trauma. Finally, I went to a therapist and told the truth. I didn’t hold back. I admitted to everything I’d been through and I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. At last I knew what was wrong! It was as though I could breathe for the first time in my life. It was as though suddenly everything made sense. All at once my paranoia, night terrors, hyper-vigilance, insomnia, even my foreshortened sense of the future, it was understandable. I wasn’t crazy. I had simply developed symptoms associated with victims of long-term child abuse. Upon receiving this diagnosis, I began slowly doing exercises in a workbook for sufferers of PTSD. I began blogging not only my answers to these exercises, but also personal posts, pictures, quotes, and songs that express what I’ve been through and what I’m currently going through. For years I pretended to hold it together, but I was consistently angry. I couldn’t handle the stress that accompanies life. I quit numerous jobs because of it. I dropped out of college not just once, but three times. When stress at work peaked I became a danger to both others and myself. I got into three car accidents in a year. All of this turmoil, this was me being consumed by it all. It has become clear to me that I am indeed a magnificent actress because many of the people I was closest to had no idea what was going on under the surface. Sure, everyone knows the basics: My Mother is mentally unstable and I was abused as a child. However, it seems there are those who knew the real me all along, despite my show, and then there are those who never really knew me at all. I am sorry for all the extra paperwork. But, what I am going through right now is most definitely not me consumed! As aforementioned, I was very angry for a long time. Now I’m finally beginning to feel other emotions again. Yes, there is also the sensation of numbness, in fact right now that is probably what is most prevalent. However I’m beginning to feel sad again. I’m beginning to feel hopeful again. Then sure, I still have my angry days and my hopeless days, but they are being phased out. They are being replaced by other emotions. I’m feeling again, something other than just anger. Sure happiness is still a bit elusive for the moment, but I’m working on it. This is a slow process and I believe a long journey, but I am finally taking it. I’m not stagnant any longer. I’m not hiding in work or relationships. I’m not running away from it. Can you say the same? The more often I’m blogging the better I’m doing. The stretches when I don’t post tend to be the hardest. The more intense my posts, the better I’m feeling because I’m letting it go. I believe my posts will get progressively darker until I eventually let it all out, then things will plateau for a while, then they’ll really start to improve. The difficulty with trauma, PTSD, and especially complex PTSD, is that you have to relive the experiences in order to put them in the past. At this moment my past is not past. Right now my past is my reality. It’s all in my head, drifting constantly through the transoms of my mind. It’s in my posture, my neck, and my curled fists; do your shoulders feel as weighted down as mine do? I may not be good just yet. I may be dark and twisty and in pain, but I am not consumed. I am a goddamned warrior. I’m a tougher bitch now than I ever was before, when all I felt was rage. You want to be really tough on the outside? You gotta get tough on the inside first. When all you feel is rage you’re not tough. When all you feel is numbness you’re not tough. You’re weak because your scared of your own fucking emotions, you’re scared of your past, and your pain, and your trauma, and you’re better than that. I’m better than that. This road is rough. In fact it sucks. Re-living your worst moments feels worse than the initial experience of living them. But this is the price we pay for happy. This is how we heal. This is how we move on. This is the journey that makes us harder, better, faster, stronger, the best version of ourselves. This is how we let the shit not consume us. I am not consumed, but maybe you are. If so, I want better for you and you should want better for you. We deserve better. Get to work.

You’re Not Alone

I hate today intensely. This is shocking only to what feels like a vast majority. Today is the kind of day that throws ones personal life into sharp perspective. Why, it’s nearly seven thirty in the morning! Have you called your Mother yet? It is a joyous day after all! Time to give love, show respect, and most importantly pay homage to your Mom on every social media platform known to man. There will be snail mail, email, twittering birds, tumbling kids, pinning parents, and much facebookery afoot today! Not to mention the minutes run up on all the well adjusted adults cell phones. Meanwhile the abused, orphaned, parentless adults will all hide in our caves or our cars or our closets until the rest of you shut up. I will likely steal money and drive around in my car smoking today listening to angry screamo rock and avoiding the thoughts in my head that so desperately want to pour out of my eyes. I will then likely come home, drink heavily, and disappear into only the most sadistic of movies. C_54_eventoCorrelato_2355_img_articoloConsidering my lifetime of abuse and the only nearly successful attempt upon my life three years ago, I think it quite fair that I have today (and the holiday season) to wallow and ache and pine for what I lost and have perhaps never had. I am especially entitled to today since this will be my very first year actually dealing with this day, or at least making the valiant attempt to deal. It’s funny how little I now remember about my childhood, but I don’t recall this day being all that special back then either. I vaguely remember trying, however I believe it was all rather poorly received. There were of course Crayola covered cards. There were flowers upon at least one occasion. There were cups of coffee. There were gift certificates for “one free  song”, “one free car wash”, “one free chore”. I remember excitement, joy, and the attempt to surprise my Mother with breakfast in bed. I remember hugs, kisses, love, appreciation. Then I also remember being screamed at, cursed out, and beaten. Whether the same day or within several days, it always seemed to hit like clockwork. After all the pattern was always the same…

Step 1: Do something to show Mom how very much you love her!

Step 2: Be lured in by her warmth and affection, her words of love and affirmation.

Step 3: Get destroyed by the inevitable crash of emotion where she calls you bad words, tells you that you’re nothing, and perhaps beats you.

Yes, indeed, banner fuckin’ holidays man! This is the point in conversation where my inner John Bender comes to the surface. <Imitates Mother’s voice> “Stupid, worthless, no good, goddamn, free-loading bitch, retarded, big mouth, know-it-all, tumblr_lvux99yXgC1r19rfzo1_500asshole, jerk.” So, who wants to come over? I have many friends whose Mothers aren’t Betty Crocker. There are those who drink excessively, those who are so self-involved that they were never really around, those who aren’t mentally all there, those with gambling addiction, those who didn’t protect their child from the abuse of their father, and so on and so forth. I don’t want to play the comparison game, but today I will, point me out a single one of these examples whose highs and lows were as extreme as my Mother’s. Point me out a single person who has dealt with the level of physical abuse that I have and isn’t currently residing in a meth lab or a psych ward. Please, I beg of you, find me anyone who knows what it feels like to have their Mother violently attack them and try to kill them. Find me anyone who has had their Mother beat them with more objects than one can count on one hand. Find me anyone who mourns this day, for the emotions I experience today are so far off the reservation that it would be nice to know that someone else, anyone else understands. I feel guilty for who I’ve been over the years, the way I’ve rebelled and made it all the worse. I feel guilty that my heart hurts so much that I can’t be above it all, give my Mother a card, tell her I love her. It hurts that my ex-sailor’s Mother has been more of a Mom to me over random facebookery than my own Mother has been. I ache for what everyone else has today and for the way they will complain about that which feels trivial to what I’ve been through. I’ve been asked why I can’t associate films, books, days like today,  with my own hopeful future Motherhood. Well, firstly, I do not have children, and despite how I’ve wanted them over the years, I’m genuinely terrified that if I ever have children I’ll fuck them up just as badly as I was fucked up. Secondly, that is a question that only someone who hasn’t been through this level of abuse at the hands of their own Mother would ask. She is the one person in all the world who is supposed to love me and instead she’s tried to kill me. I don’t care how much therapy I attend, or how many exercises I do in my ptsd workbook, or whether or not I eventually have children of my own, this will never go away. I hope that someday it won’t still hurt so much. I hope that someday being the kind of Mother I never had will further help me heal. But, this doesn’t go away. The sickest thing about all of this is that I love her and I always will. I remember dancing around the house to MoTown records. susan-sarandon-liam-aiken-jena-malone-stepmom-34274 I remember her brushing my hair, telling me how beautiful I was. I remember her embracing me and telling me how very much she loved me and how glad she was to have me. It’s funny how those memories hurt the most of all. If I could just erase those, throw them to the wind, perhaps it would be easier to move past it all. However, for as bad as she was, she was equally wonderful. Highs and lows, extremes, I’ve lived my life with these. Today hurts and it will continue to hurt. I will likely be up until midnight just to feel the wave of relief that the day has past and that tomorrow will hurt less. However, for now, I will be above all of this. I will post on friend’s walls about today. I will head over to my favorite Mommy friend’s house to watch our Sunday night shows. I will rage against my emotions as always. I will brush myself off, pat myself on the back for having felt my feelings, and written about it. Though everything hurts, I will hold out for hope. I hope to be a smokey, hurt, cracked, honest voice that echoes to others that they are not alone.

Brave

My entire life Disney has been where I turned to make sense of all my tragedy.

Snow White is my favorite as you lovely readers may have gathered. Though the Disney spin involves singing dwarves, dishwashing birds, and an accidental karmic death for the wicked Queen, the true tale was much more sinister. Grimm’s first edition was a story of a very young princess and her jealous Mother who would have her slain. This version had no singing and more attempts at homicide. Firstly bodice laces, secondly a poisoned comb, thirdly and finally a poison apple was to seal the seven-year old Snow’s fate. Luckily she is indeed rescued by a prince, though the likelihood of “true love’s kiss” waking the princess is exceedingly doubtful. The Queen’s death is anything but accidental. As she arrives at Snow’s wedding only to realize her still alive, this abusive Mother has hot iron shoes placed upon her feet and the court watches as she dances herself to death.

Cinderella is a tale many know to contain happy sewing mice and plotting mischievous cats. Yes, the pumpkin still turns into a carriage and she does have a fairy Godmother. However at the core of Perrault’s tale exists a girl who is neglected, verbally abused, and forced into servitude. After a long day’s work, this girl would retire to the barren, cold room given her. Each night she would fall asleep curled close to the fire for warmth. Each morning she would awake covered in ash. This is from whence her nickname “Cinderella” is born. Though remarried, her Father is alive and well in the first edition of the story. How absent must he be to not notice this treachery going on in his own house?

Sleeping Beauty is know to many as yet another incredibly romantic tale in which true love’s kiss saves not only a princess, but an entire kingdom from a centuries sleep at the curse of an evil fairy. Though Disney’s movie is quite popular and Perrault’s version of this tale is the most widely read, it originates with Basile. We all love the idea of a princess awoken from a deep sleep by a handsome prince, alas there was much more than a kiss in the first version of this story. Upon falling into her deep sleep, this princess is sat upon the throne then abandoned by her distraught father. The castle falls to naught, until one day a King happens by. Upon exploration of the ruins, he finds Sleeping Beauty. Though he tries to rouse her, she still sleeps. It is then that the King carries her away to chambers in the castle and rapes her. As if that wasn’t enough, she gives birth to his twins whilst asleep. Furthermore, when the King’s wife learns of Sleeping Beauty and her children, she tries to eat them. It’s fabulously cannibalistic. I highly recommend!

The Little Mermaid is of course the tale of a mermaid who falls in love with a handsome prince. Andersen’s tale does indeed begin when a mermaid rescues a prince from drowning. She does indeed seek out the help of a sea witch, however she gives her a magical potion in exchange for her tongue. That’s right, no golden, singing voice exiting Ariel’s mouth and transferring into Ursula’s tiger’s eye shell necklace in this version! The sea witch takes her tongue! Though the potion does indeed give our mermaid legs, every step upon these legs feels like stepping upon a blade. The mission remains the same, capture the prince’s heart and true love’s kiss and our mermaid shall remain human. The original fairytales don’t always have happy endings. The prince marries another (no, not the sea witch in disguise) and the mermaid dissolves into sea-foam.

Once upon a time, Disney embraced only the darkest of fairy tales. The embraced those who roads had been rocky. They embraced tragedy. Sure, they put a spin on them, added singing, drew lovely illustrations of magnificent happy endings, but these films sparkled up tales with real terror brimming just beneath the surface. Alas, that era has long since ended. Tragic fairy tales have become extinct. Grimm, Villeneuve, Andersen, Perrault, Basile… they are all dead. Disney now embraces an era of dramatic change, psychological understanding, and growth. The villan of the story has been replaced by the villan within. The happy ending now involves the characters emotional transformation, rather than a physical struggle. I’ve always been into all things “retro” and “classic” and especially “tragic”, so it appears that this evolution happened right before my eyes. I was still looking backwards at the past, rather than forward towards the future. I did not see it, therefore I was unprepared. It was shocking. I do not handle shock well.

Diaries

Hello. My name is Jordan. I’ve been thinking of starting a blog for some time now. I have several close friends who blog. Honestly, I believe I’ve been a bit scared to blog. Not scared of what I may say, or what you may read, but scared of what I may have to face.

I kept several diaries when I was younger. They never lasted. I’d write in one for a few weeks & begin to feel comfort & relief & then I’d give it up. My diaries were filled with secrets, fears, passions, theories, opinions galore, just as any girl’s diary should be. My Mother always read them. No matter how I hid that damn diary, she’d ransack my bedroom until she found it. Then I would get attacked because of my words. My thoughts, opinions, feelings, they were all wrong. I was wrong for writing them, but especially for thinking them. Since I was wrong, the next step for my Mother was to make sure I knew what she thought of what she’d read. In her eyes I was always stupid, I was always dirty, I never loved her as much as I loved my father. So, beginning at a very young age, she ruined my own words for me. I no longer believed in their value. I no longer believed in writing it all down. It hurt to do so.

Honestly, it still hurts, all of it. Furthermore, I don’t feel like I’m healing. I feel like I’m whining. What may be extreme or traumatic to counselors, therapists, & psychiatrists, feels like weakness to me. Perhaps this is because I have a tough-as-nails football coach for a father, or because whenever I started crying as a child my mother would laugh & just beat me harder. That just dawned on me actually. I had forgotten that she would laugh when I cried. Perhaps I’ll uncover a wealth of information by writing it all down. That’s the most terrifying thing of all.

The trouble is not who I’ve been, it’s who I will be. I feel that there are wheels set in motion at this very moment, fueling all of this. I feel as though there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but I’ve no idea where I will be when I come through. I don’t want to remember. I don’t want to face it all. I just want it to go away. I want to feel better. I want to feel happy & safe & loved. But I don’t. I feel alone. I feel scared & alone. The only way to get past this is to go through it all again. Re-living it all, that’s worse that living it. I’ve survived by blocking it all out. The idea of letting it all go feels enormous. It has become this huge tidal wave of history & emotion that I feel will drown me. I know it will drown me. The person I am now is not the person I will be at the end of this. I’ll come out of the sea reborn.