A Few Questions

I was asked some general wonderings, too, when I asked what people wanted to know. I guess that these are things I can’t quite cover in the book, so I’ll answer them here. Anything else I might not cover, just ask on my page or here, or message me. 🙂 I try to answer as best as I can.

These come from Kimberly:

 

“What happened to Nathan? “

 

We were friends until I was around 27. I still see him on Facebook, but we don’t talk that much really. He doesn’t live far away. As far as I can see, he is happy. We drifted apart because as my mental health got worse, I started to cancel things and eventually, he stopped asking. I miss him a lot, though.

“Are you still friends with anyone from college? “

 

No, aside from Facebook, I don’t see them anymore.

“Do you still live in the same area? “
I don’t live that far away from where I grew up. Probably just a 15-minute drive.
“How are you doing without being in therapy?”
I found therapy useless to be honest. I do better alone. My last one, last year, was pretty bad. He wouldn’t let me talk about anything. He’d say, What does it matter? It’s in the past. And had me down as having low self-esteem issues, which I don’t.

I did have CBT for my OCD at one point, but it didn’t cure it, just helped me to calm it a little. I needed that back then. I was living in a bubble.

I went to one therapist about my PTSD and the badman. He pretty much accused me of having an overactive imagination and said we’re all afraid of the dark when we’re on our own.

So, without therapy, I cope as best as I can.
“Do your children know anything about your abuse?”

 

They don’t have a clue. They know little things, like me not having a bed until I was 9, but no, they have no idea really, and I am glad about that.

 

“I’m also curious why your brother hates your dad so much. Was he aware of the things going on maybe, and just didn’t say? Was he abused in some way? Do you have a relationship with either of your brothers?”

 

I don’t exactly know why my brother hates my dad so much. I think it’s just a bad relationship and that our father is selfish, and he sees that. They fell out really when my brother asked me lots of questions, like whether my Nan used to beat me, like our parents had claimed. He realised it had all been lies and that made him angry. I don’t think he was abused, but he has issues from living in that house. Maybe he saw things. He was in the same bed as my father and I. He doesn’t live too far away. He comes and goes, but we talk. My older brother lives abroad now; we talk on Facebook. I have other siblings from later in life. My youngest sister is 12. I don’t really have contact with them, though.

 

 

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Stolen Everything

I think as I go more and more through this journey in my life, I discover more and more has been stolen. Of course, I lost my innocence a long time ago, and maybe that was the worst thing to lose. Or maybe it was that I lost myself and who I was meant to be, but there are moments, things, that I never realised I had lost.
Sympathy.
Not mine. It’s a weird thing to lose. I sit here with my chest tight and my shoulders weighted down, but there is no one to really turn to. People’s dislike for my dad is stronger and they can’t see. They can’t see what is being taken from me.
When normal people’s fathers are sick, suffering with something like cancer, and the normal person sees their parent slipping away. When the adult who raised them suddenly needs help to fasten shoelaces, make meals or simply fill out a form. They talk to their friends, they get hugs and care and sympathy.
I find myself in this place I never imagined, where that has been stolen from me. I tell people my father is sick, and they say good. Inside, the child who is there, who loves his father, wraps his arms around himself for comfort. 231b6640ef7d79030ade6674b2b0185d
When I say that I am helping my dad, fixing his car, cooking his meal, I am told that I am doing more than he deserves. I end up finding myself torn between what feels right to do and what people think I should do.
When people ask me why I would help him, my answer is because he is my dad. I find myself envious of that normal person who wouldn’t be asked why, but would be asked, what help do you need.
I wish I was a normal person. Instead, he is my abuser and I am his victim. But I wish the world would see that he is my dad, and I am his son.
I never knew that this part had been stolen.

Sanity

This is another one of those posts from me asking what people want me to talk about. TeAnne asked, “How you kept your sanity. I know you had survival mechanism in place?”

I am not sure I have really. I have many problems that I deal with day to day, but back then, I didn’t know I had them. In writing Teddy, I can see where many started. I can see where my OCD began, and I think that was a survival mechanism to begin with – some kind of order in my mind about this world I didn’t yet understand. sanity-is-madness-put-to-good-uses-george-santayana

Obviously there is my bear. I told him everything. I had an imaginary friend, too, called Andrew. He is also in the books. Both of those helped me; it was a way of having some kind of social aspect without a real social aspect. I also read a lot. I could read for hours and hours and take myself away into the stories. I learnt to read very young. I was reading at four, and by the age of six, I had read the Hobbit – to give you an idea of my reading abilities.

I also wrote. I wrote all kinds of things; stories for one. I wrote those for hours. I wrote poems too. Sometimes, though, especially right after some form of abuse, I would cry and write everything down, asking why my dad didn’t love me. Why I had to do those things.

I used to count too. I think that’s where my number OCD came from. I’d tell myself that in an hour, I’d be in my own bed. I’d be sleeping. I used to try to count to sixty, sixty times. I pretended I was asleep a lot too. I could pretend it wasn’t happening to me.

Of course, there were times I didn’t cope. I was maybe six, I think, when I tried to drown myself in the bath. I got into sniffing petrol fumes when I was about 9. Started smoking and drinking at 12. I even ran away from home, but got taken right back.

I became very introverted. I think that was the best mechanism I had. Taking everything inside, and outside, I just smiled.

From Victim to Parent

I asked the readers on my Facebook page a week or so ago if there was anything that they wanted me to blog about. I have tons of blog ideas, but maybe I never really hit the spot. So I thought that I would put it out there. I should really make it a place people can ask and I’ll answer. I’m going to answer the ones I have over the next week or so and in no specific order.

The first one comes from Dawn. She asked: “How you managed to overcome all that you went through to become the strong caring father & person you are today. That’s one thing I’ve never really seen explained in any books written by people who were abused as children……how do they go on & function & be able to be caring, competent adults. It has to be so hard to overcome all of that….I can’t even imagine.”

Terrie also asked: “How you were able to raise your children when your parents did not pass any skills to you?”

There are quite a few questions in there, so I’ll break it down. How have I managed to stay a strong and caring father? Father and child

I didn’t start out that way. I became a parent at 16 years old. It was way too young. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. If you read Scars, you’ll see that I did a lot of things wrong – a lot of bad things. I had to go right down before I could get up again. I ended up on drugs and almost lost my son to social services. My dad was going to get my child and be his legal guardian. That was the moment I looked at my life and at my son’s life and thought no, this isn’t going to happen. I had to make a choice to get clean or I was heading for prison, and my son was heading for my father’s house. This is what Scars is about; it’s the journey downwards, until I couldn’t get any lower in my life.

With my children now, I often try to judge what I am doing. They are the family I have and I try my best to make them happy. I try to give them the right guidance. I try a lot to protect them because my father is still around in my life and they don’t know my past with him. It’s easy to be a better parent. I just do the opposite of how I was raised.

Some of it is just an act, though. The functioning adult part is. I don’t think I will overcome things really. Not ever fully. A recent example is last night, at 3:30 a.m., I had to wake my friend up on the phone because I was afraid. I had had a bad dream filled with flashbacks and all kinds, and I couldn’t feel safe. I was sure the bad man was coming back. I could feel him. I was very afraid. The frightened child inside me takes over. I have so many fears because of this man. I have in the past slept outside or in my car because my fear has got too big. KCRG_news_depression-teen-boy-sad1

Every minute of every day is a fight, and my children help me with that. If they could see inside, though, they’d see I am not that strong. I suffer from OCD. Just getting up in the morning is a drama – what to wear, what to eat. I debate whether I should eat, because I have phobia of vomiting and bringing up my breakfast. I get afraid of being outside and want to go home sometimes, because I just can’t face people. At university, I can’t touch the doors, and I can’t touch people. I have to maintain a distance just so I don’t flip out. I actually have a support worker at uni and a provision that I am allowed to leave the lectures if I can’t cope. I use a Dictaphone to record all my lessons because I suffer dissociation, too, and sometimes I can miss the entire lecture. When I finally get home, it is hard to go inside if my house is empty because the children are at school or something. I look through the windows and check that it is safe.

I try not to have any friends because I can’t cope when they need to do things in their own life – even if it’s just something normal and simple, like shopping. I can’t cope with any kind of abandonment. I have one friend, and she has to cope very well with what to say to me and how to say it. She needs a medal some days. My fear that they won’t come back is so great. It is much simpler to just be alone.

I am a self-harmer. I have to hide that from my children too. So much of how I am with them is because I never want them to become like me. I don’t want them to have my fears or phobias. I want them to enjoy life. It really is because of them I am here. If they weren’t, I would have ended my own life a long time ago. I often wish my father had done it while I was a child and saved me from these years of torment.

Some days the only functioning I can manage is breathing. But I try.

I’m not really sure if this answers your question, but put simply, I use a lot of how I felt as a child to guide me with how to raise my own children, and I hide behind a façade of normalcy to hide what is inside. Only when no one is around do I allow myself to break down.

Facts of Shame

Sometimes I have to be brave when writing these blog posts. Sometimes I want to say things that I think might make people hate me or find me disgusting. Sometimes fear keeps me silent.
This one probably falls into the hate me and disgusting category, but I have tried to write it before and feel it is important, especially to those like me.
There are three facts that I have struggled with since I was a child. Three facts that used to make me think I was the evil one. That everything that happened was my fault and that in no way was anything that happened to me abuse. I want to write this post for those who still think those things, but it is going to be very hard to write, and maybe a little odd to read.
My body would react to what my father did. I enjoyed what he did. Sometimes I can find that thoughts of rape/abuse/incest arouse me.
That sentence was so hard to write. Even harder to see and leave it there. Will you think I am disgusting? Will you think I deserved what happened? Will you think I am sick?
For a long time I thought that about myself. People talked of child abuse and give this image of a crying or screaming child. And there I was with my father, and my body would climax. It had to be my fault, right? It had to be, because if it wasn’t, then I would scream and cry too, and I wouldn’t have this feeling that felt nice. I was 7 years old the first time it happened. After that I craved that from him. I went to him with the purpose of that feeling. I didn’t understand. Someone said to me once, “Congratulations. Your body works.” I stared at them as if they had gone insane. Was that really the answer? I wasn’t sick? I was shaking so badly that day.
I remember reading after that, having it likened to be tickled. No one really likes being tickled, but when they are, they laugh. Laughter is something of a pleasure, right? So why would you possibly have a pleasurable experience of something you neither like nor want…? Because the body is designed to have these reactions.
Does a child who orgasms during abuse, or an adult during rape, hold some of the responsibility? No. It’s exactly as I was told. Congratulations, your body works. shame-child-face-hiding

I also once read somewhere, and this was a post from a woman, but I think it still applies. She stated that the sex with her father was the best she had had. No partner since had ever come close to it. You’d be inclined to think she was sick? Twisted?
I stared at this when I read it. Is it really normal to feel the way I do? I took this then to a counsellor. He told me that we learn everything from our parents. Lessons that we take into our adult lives. These things become the “right“ way to do things. They teach us how to cook, how to write. They teach us what to believe in, the way we should act, the norms of the society we live in, and in our minds, these are right. So what happens when your parent is the one teaching you sex? It becomes the thing that you gauge every subsequent encounter with. If like me, the sexual relationship with my father is probably the longest one I have ever had, maybe it was the same for that woman too.
Perhaps the last part of the statement is the hardest to get across without sounding as if I will repeat what my dad did, because I won’t. It would never enter my head. In fact, I often feared dressing my own son when he was little in case someone thought that of me. But I know I am not alone in that violence and sex is arousing, even in the worst forms. There’s a whole world of BDSM and erotica out there that makes a fortune. It is just the same, except… I guess it links in with the first two things. My father was doing something that my body liked and he did it for a very long time. My experiences with him became the foundations. Most teenagers have this period in life where they explore. They take things at their pace, try things out, fumble, mess up. All the things that are normal. People like me, we never had that. I was taught that sex was violent. That it involved incest and secrets and shame. I still fight with this one. I don’t know how to put it across properly without sounding like I might be a monster, but I just want people to know they aren’t alone. And they aren’t monsters either.
Remember the child only had the tools he was given.

I Want to Show You Something

If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?

Blogging 101 Day Two.

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I want to show you something. I want you to really see. I want you to understand. Not through your eyes, nor through mine, but through what I show you. I want you to look.
The room, it’s filled with shades of orange and yellow, warm sunlight filters through the curtain from the dusky autumn evening. The sunshine creeps in so much that the smell of the warmth permeates through the room. Evening motes dance idly across each ray that gets through, oblivious to what they are about to see. On the floor, leaning against the wooden box, just in front of a window, is a boy.
He’s sitting there, small and innocent. He’s almost silent, save for the small hiccups that make his body tremor from the crying he’s since pushed down. His tiny arms wrap around his legs, small hands and small fingers try to ease away the fear that’s inside. His head is down, he doesn’t want anyone to see him cry. He doesn’t want anyone to know that he is upset because he’s getting a new brother. He doesn’t want his mum and dad to be taken away. He’s five years old, his parents are his world.
He’s afraid.
Look at him. Look at his face, so small. Look how he bites his lip to keep it from quivering. He doesn’t blink to keep the tears in his young eyes. He’s trying so hard to make himself happy. His dad is happy, so he should be. His dad is happy; he’s going to have another son.
Watch the door. Watch it and see. Cruelty ascends from the darkness below. Hidden behind the face of an ordinary man. Covered in the mask of a love. He gets closer, the heavy footsteps approach, and his evil design in his mind.
Just watch.
Dark intent drips from him with every step. The walks over to the other side of the room first, he turns his back, but don’t look at the man. Look at the boy, look at his face as he swipes away his tears so the man doesn’t see. Did you see?
The man walks over to the boy, crouches down and enquires what’s wrong. He hasn’t been fooled, he sees the boy has been crying. The boy puts his head down, he doesn’t want to say. The man gives a loving sigh and smiles down at the boy. He reaches out and touches the boys hair, soothing him as he invites him to sit on his lap for reassuring comfort.
Maybe I could stop there. Leave it in a moment of care. I want to scream at the boy. I want him to put his arms down. Don’t fall for it. Don’t. Run away. I want to shout until my voice is hoarse and my breath is gone.
Do you see?
Does it not make your heart constrict?
The man had plans all along
Did he not care that it was wrong?
He lifts the boy, picks him up.
Turns him around, slams him down.
His hand over his mouth to stifle his screams
His clothes torn from him, to shatter his dreams.
Listen to the cries of stolen innocence. Listen to the screams as the man violates.
Listen to the sound. How can you stand it? The wail of agony. Pain so deep, it will stay forever. Listen to the sound of those falling tears, I can’t stand it. I cover my ears.
The boy is five
The man doesn’t stop
He doesn’t listen.
After, he stands victorious above the boy.
The boy, broken, bleeding and bewildered. Innocence never knew such evil.
I said I wanted to show you something. I want to show you the boy. Look at the child, curled in a ball. Look at him shaking. Look at his face. Look at his tears. Listen to the way he cries. Look at the way he tries to get up.
Watch as he looks at the man, not understanding.
Watch as the man leaves.
I wanted to show you a day, the say when the sunlight came through the window and evil came through the door. I wanted to show you when the man broke the boy and didn’t care anymore.
I wanted to show you the day a father killed his son, not the living and the breathing, but his soul that is within.
You dad, you are the man and I am the boy.
I wanted to show you.

Time Limit on Mental Health Recovery

Why does mental health recovery have a time limit? It’s one of the things that bugs me the most. Many people put into therapy get 4-6 weeks of therapy and then they are cast out into the world again. Some people get 12 weeks if they are lucky, but that seems to be the maximum. Why is it that mental illness comes with such a limit?

Would we treat a cancer patient and say well you’ve got so many weeks of chemo, but after that you’re on your own? Or tell someone who is recovering from something like a stroke that they have 12 weeks to rehabilitate and then off they go to do it themselves? I don’t think so. Why is it okay with mental health? It’s just as debilitating as any other illness. The difference is, is that it can’t be seen.

The reason from my rant today comes from my own experience. When I had taken an over dose those few weeks ago and gone to my doctor after the hospital had discharged me and for the first time I said to someone that I think my thoughts are wrong. I need some help, did I get some and felt relieved.

I was assigned a therapist. I have had therapists before and for various reasons either I didn’t stick or my time was up. This time I tried to give everything I had. I tried to be honest about how I was feeling. I even showed him my many self-harm episodes across my skin. tumblr_mjvm92IrOr1s8qsclo1_500

It was heart-breaking to hear at my last sessions that I only have three left. His manager said I could have 14 sessions. I’ve done 11 so far, because I needed so much, but that’s it for me. I feel let down again. I feel lost again. I keep hearing those words in my head and it makes me upset.

I am not a stupid person, but I am an ill person. I don’t understand how the doctors can say to someone who –

Who is suicidal and has tried many times before.

Who self-harms almost daily (although at the moment it’s been 8 days)

Who has flashbacks, sometimes so bad he has to leave the house.

Who suffers disassociation and often doesn’t know if he is a real person.

Who has BPD and breaks down and wants the world to end at something as simple as a cancelled lunch date.

Who suffers DDNOS and flits between different parts of himself at different ages because he is fragmented.

How can someone with so much to recover from be told they have 14 weeks and then they’re on their own again.

No wonder people don’t tend to get better. You can’t put a time limit on recovery from anything. That includes mental health.