Feeling well enough at last to find my voice again
I have known for years there was a forum here and was too afraid to join because it would mean admitting I needed medication and just couldn't fix this by myself. So here I am at last! I hope this helps even one person if they are feeling like I did. Ok here goes.....
I'm a 32 year old mum of 2, 15 months apart. I'm happily married, love my job, love my family and friends. I have support. Nothing bad has happened to me. So I thought I had no right to feel depressed. I have always been an anxious and emotional person. Mood swings were normal for me. I made every excuse to myself and the doctors to explain away my poor scores on the postnatal depression checklists. I admitted I constantly thought about suicide but that had been normal for me for years so it didn't feel like a big deal, it didn't mean I'd do anything. I was angry all the time and my moods were unpredictable.
Hubby said constantly I don't care what the doctor said you perform for them and I know you. Something is wrong. After my second bub and the start of a new health condition (psoriatic arthritis) I saw a psychologist who said I was dealing with chronic pain and two small children and what I felt was normal.
I practiced mindfulness. Family and friends gave me rest. Eventually I got medication to help my joints. I talked. I ate well, I went back to work. Everything was supposed to be better....
But I felt worse. I'd see the doctor and they'd say I was ok but I'd stand at the sink washing dishes and plan the steps of how to kill myself. If I wasn't busy I would find the thoughts repeating. They'd all be better off without you. You're worthless. They'll only put up with so much of your issues and then they'll leave you. So I'd plan how to die. And I was TERRIFIED.
My husband told me to write down exactly what I felt on a bad day and he put it in an envelope and made me an appointment for the psychologist. We made a plan. I would go in and say I need you to read this. I don't feel like this now but this is how I've felt most days for years but I can't seem to communicate it to a doctor and get help and I'm so frightened.
And finally! A crisis plan put in place until I could see the psychiatrist! Apparently I have had major depression for over 12 years. Only after starting an antidepressant did I notice how anxious and self destructive I had constantly been. I don't have suicidal thoughts anymore. I am happy again. It's the start of my journey but there is hope at last.
Hi Mary (and anyone else reading of course),
How was your mother's day? I hope you got a batch of your daughter's scones (mmm nothing better than scones and jam and cream and earl grey tea).
I really hope the doctor can work out something to ease your pain that doesn't cause panic attacks. Pain is bad enough to deal with. Do you have any pets? Sounds odd but I found it helped to have someone who would sit with me if I couldn't sleep for the pain. For me it was having a newborn awake wanting a feed and a cuddle but I just hoped you have comfort you when you're in pain, pets are so very intuitive about that.
My trip was tiring but lovely. I had a good talk with my Mum mostly about feeling betrayed that she knew about the abuse in the past and didn't say anything until I left and then again when she didn't say anything about noticing my rage and mood swings until after I had gotten help.
She said she feels it's not her place that I have to learn things for myself. That she didn't want to push me away. I did understand but was pretty disappointed anyway. I told her I thought being a Mum meant saying the hard things even when your kids don't want to hear it if it keeps them safe.
Overall a difficult talk but a good one. Not really Mother's Day friendly I suppose.
Take care and I'll write more later sorry I'm a bit down being back in the city. Hope you are alright.
Please don't read this. It might trigger someone. Just let me vent and get this out for me to read again and again. Arrgh!
Confused and angry and disgusted at myself again. I just want to sleep not go through these thoughts over and over and over.
I feel guilty for talking to my Mum and using the A word (abuse). This happens over and over again. I feel ashamed for talking about it. I feel like I'm supposed to call her and say I lied. That I overreacted. That I made it all up. Why do I always feel like this?
He abused me. I was a bloody experiment for a wannabe psychologist. I KNOW this. I KNOW what he did was wrong and cruel and awful. I know I was angry and knew what he was doing was wrong. But why can't I remember what he said to me that made it all alright?!
My memories are drenched in guilt. My fault. My consent. My mistake. I wasn't clear enough. I was wrong. I overreacted. Guilt guilt guilt guilt. Memories with contradictory feelings that make no sense!
So now I'm at fault again. How dare I blame him? How dare I make up lies? How dare I slander him? Apologise again. Wrong again. Oh my God. What is wrong with my memory?
How can I say the R word out loud and yet immediately want to follow it with ... No it wasn't rape. It wasn't that bad. I didn't mean that. Just forget I said anything. What the hell is wrong with me!
I'm not 100% sure of the background story but I will say this: rape is rape is rape. R is R is R.
There is never any excuse and the fault alway lies with the perpetrator. Nothing he said made it alright because what he did was not alright.
As for the contradictory feelings, I have heard of other survivors having similar feelings. You're not alone in this.
Sorry, I'm not sure that I'm the best person to respond- I can think of at least 10 other people here who have the firsthand experience that I lack- but I guess I'm awake and maybe they're asleep so you're stuck with me for a bit...
I hear you...I think you were betrayed by multiple people. The guy who raped you as well as your mum's inaction. 2 betrayals.
I can empathise with feeling betrayed by your mum. Even if it wasn't her intention, silence and inaction is often as good as condoning an action if that makes any sense. Cone of silence and inaction in my family home that spanned at least 2 generations (but for different reasons to you). Anyway, I'm just trying to say that I hear you.
I'm not sure what else to say other that I hear you...vent all you need.
Thank you Dottie for your reply.
I ended up falling asleep just after writing that. I think I just needed to vent and get it out of my head. But I appreciate you writing to keep me company 😊.
There is never any excuse and the fault alwaylies with the perpetrator. Nothing he said made it alright because what he did was not alright
I do understand this. Sometimes (like last night) I just get overwhelmed by my memories. I can't seem to reconcile how I felt in the memories and how I feel now.
I spent so long burying the memories and trying to pretend those years never happened. So to face it all now it just gets a bit much some days.
It will be ok I have psychotherapy once a week and will work on this.
But that said I really appreciate you reaching out to me.
I haven't read your thread yet I have to admit (I'm just working my way through threads slowly so it's not overwhelming) so I'm not familiar with your story yet I'm sorry.
Feeling betrayed is hard to deal with I agree. Reconciling that silence doesn't mean they agreed with what was happening. If you want to talk about this you're always welcome here though.
Thank you Dottie.
You are able to see two sets of opposing things, what actually happened and that you still feel guilty.
I am not a pshrink but I think it is good that you can see both, that the facts are not buried. For many years I would imagine your mind has tried to 'make the best of things', perhaps by reinforcing thoughts about the matter that were wrong - basically that you did not count, were not important.
Now you are dealing with the matter knowing your true worth - an example being having a straight talk with your mother. All those past mental habits are in direct opposition to this and stir things up mightily.
I guess it is to be expected, and the more you do continue to behave as a person who is of worth and importance the more the confusion will recede.
Frankly I think you mother is making excuses for not taking the firm action she should have. Whether you allow her to do that, and seem to accept her words is up to you. Other factors apart from that massive betrayal may influence you, perhaps mercy, I don't know, you have to judge. My own path would not be as forgiving.
You are getting there- doing well
How are you going? I hope you're taking time to look after yourself as well as everyone else 😊. Please know I am here for you if you need to talk ok.
You're right as usual. I think as I talk it through it all I'll eventually accept that I can't change the guilt in my memories but I can recognise that I was young and vulnerable and isolated and conditioned to feel that way. And that those feelings are wrong.
I do forgive my Mum. She has her own problems and did the best that she knew how to do. Even as a child I knew it was my job to look after her not the other way around. So it was unrealistic for me to expect her to act any differently. I knew she didn't know how to.
That said she doesn't know the extent of the abuse. It was a shock to her to hear me say I examine every single thing I do... Asking myself am I doing this because I want to or because I have to?
I watched her reaction and her panic and decided I have told her enough. The truth would destroy her. And I love my Mum too much for that.
I'm starting to realise it's my choice who I confide in and how much I tell them.
My husband and sister and psychiatrist can handle the blunt reality. My Mum can handle the general topic of abuse. My Dad I can only tell about the depression not the cause (he would kill my ex and I'm not willing to put Dad in that position). My friends are varying degrees in between depending on their own life experiences. And that is ok. I have lots of different supports around me. It's not all or nothing 😊
As always thankyou Croix. Take care of yourself too.
I haven't caught up properley on your thread but i see loud and clear that you are blaming yourself and watering down the facts. Possibly this is because he is your ex, you were in a relationship, you probably trusted him at some point so how could the R word come into it you ask? Very possible i sa. No is no whether you are still in the relstionship or not. Sometimes we try to justify the behaviours of those we cared for because we did care but there is a line between right and wrong and what we permit at any given time.
Just a virtual hug for you from me. everyone else has said all the important stuff. You and me are linked by the same yet different circumstances, so you know I hear you loud and clear. The guilt, self doubts the endless What if's? I think deep down we both know the who's right and who's wrong in our stories, we just need lots of support to fully accept it and get on with our lives
Here for you
Triggers below. Please don't read. Just venting. I'm struggling with the idea of it not being my fault.
I'm going to talk to my psychiatrist tomorrow about dealing with the rage and blame I direct to myself instead of him.
I think my biggest problem is that I expected the rape and I did nothing.
The abuse in general had been escalating and he had a friend who was a sexologist who I knew he'd been discussing intimate details with.
One day they started yelling at me in front of our housemates (men and women) saying I was irresponsible for not having a pap smear. She said she'd give me money if that was the problem. He said "we've discussed this she's just too uncomfortable in her own skin". I wanted to crawl into the floor and die of shame.
Part of me knew what to expect. The porn. The constant discussion of sex. Every sentence starting with what the sexologist had to say. She said this... She said that. Bringing me to a house party with a stripper and people making out publicly. Feeling uncomfortable and unsafe all the time. It really didn't surprise me when it got worse.
That in my mind puts me at fault. That even though my skin crawled whenever he touched me (even before the rape) I didn't leave. That even after the rape I stayed.