Category: Health


A Life Update

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Snoopy hopes for what all of us writers do. Image by Charles Schulz

It’s still been some time since I’ve been back here writing… and it’s something that I admit I haven’t been doing as well as I might. There are many reasons why I haven’t written all that much. My stress had been through the roof. And a large part of it for a long time was a dissolution of a relationship… and many things about that relationship specifically. Now that is done and I’ve done some work on building myself back up, that seems to be waning… even the stress to find a second part-time job.

I’ve also had a health issue. I am one week away from my final oral surgery to take care of dental issues. While I’m glad that it’s almost done, there’s a lot of anxiety surrounding it as well. And, even bigger, a lot of pain. Concentration has been difficult at best. I’m still dealing with the pain from my teeth which should hopefully be finished soon. Tooth pain sucks.

I also had to take a moment to look at myself. I had to admit that I was my own worst enemy when it comes to me not writing. Between my disappointment with people and dealing with a lot of personal demons that came out on Thanksgiving and knowing that no matter what, I don’t think I’ll ever really be excepted by my own family. I’ve tried so hard my whole life to be accepted by them. I guess I need to accept that they don’t necessarily care about who I am. That my sexuality and my gender identity doesn’t mean all that much to them.

That’s been the hardest part to accept. So, what do I do now?

That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it?

Mostly, I’m going to keep on writing. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned recently, it’s that writing is probably the most important thing to me. I need to create worlds and stories. I need to create characters and watch them grow as the words continue to flow from my fingers. Not writing hasn’t been helpful to me. Writing is such a huge part of myself, so I need to do more of it.

After I recuperate from my surgery next week, I’ll attempt to write here at least once a week. I’ll also keep working on my screenplays and other writing. I have a new story that I’m still working on the beginning of. I will continue to work on that story that I posted the beginning of here. I’m going to keep on writing. Right now, that’s mostly what I have. I’ll have to figure everything else out, but for right now, I’m going to keep writing.

Little Girl Lost

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Ritsuka from Loveless by Yun Kouga

There are things that are hard for me to describe, even as a decently educated writer. The hardest is to explain what being triggered is like. It’s not just discomfort or being upset. I wish it were simple. Then again, of PTSD were easy to understand, then there wouldn’t be as much misinformation as there is about it.

Right now, I’m deep in the bowels of a very deep and profound triggering event. I’ve gotten past the anger that is usually what I feel first, anger and sadness. Now I’m working on tackling a near-crippling self-doubt and depression. And that’s not the only thing that’s living here, that’s just the guardians of the house.

Deeper inside the house that trauma built is a deep hurt of a child who was left to be the adult. A child who never knew what it meant to be wanted. A child who was tossed aside and was beaten and abused for decades. A child whose parent came back later after she learned how to cope with things most children don’t start approaching until late middle school or high school.

Inside this house is a little girl, lost and afraid… on her own to fend for herself. No matter what color of happiness she paints on the outside of the house, she can’t just ignore the misery inside.

This is probably just a simplistic snapshot of an incredibly complex and insidious set of neurological responses. It’s something that people want to trivialize because it’s easier to make fun of people who are deeply troubled. At least that seems to be the American way of things.

And that’s what makes this all so terribly difficult. I have a lot of things that I know I’ll never get any closure for. That makes it so much harder. I have no way of getting closure. One of the people is no longer amongst the living. Others I have no contact with… and that’s probably for the best. I would need to sever that relationship regardless… and then there are relationships that I’ve been told I need to sever, but it’s not going to be so simple.

I start to feel so helpless because I can’t figure out how to move away from the relationship that seems to be more emotionally detrimental as time goes on. I feel like no matter what I do, that I’m stuck. I have no clue how to take care of it. There’s never really any one good way to pull away from abusive relationships. There isn’t. Even though I know what will help me in finishing healing, I haven’t a clue on how to break away from it. Unfortunately, my therapist isn’t being any help, regardless of how many times I’ve reached out.

I feel so lost right now.

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This year has been fairly brutal so far. If there’s one thing that I could say that this year has had more than anything else, it’s definitely hurt. It’s something that I’ve once again become intimately aware of. Of course, it’s not by my own choice. I had to deal with things that I find unacceptable, period. I don’t do lying and I don’t do deception.

All of that, of course, hits on other buttons that are from incredibly bad parts of my life, including the feeling that I’m not worthy enough for anyone to really want to be with me. That everyone will just leave me. This is a running theme in my life. Not surprisingly, this hits on some pretty deep-seated pain. So, I’m still working through that.

For the most part, I’m generally OK. I can typically handle things. But then I have this thing that I call brain chatter. This is the negative voice telling me how horrible a person I am. That no one really wants to be around me because not even my parents really wanted to be. While I know that there is no validity to what’s being said (at least as far as right now is concerned), it is still hard to trudge through on a daily basis. I try to ignore it, but sometimes it just won’t disappear.

More than anything right now, I want to hurt to be gone. I want to be able to enjoy what I do have right now… and I have some pretty awesome things right now. I want that tinge of sadness to be gone. I don’t need it in my life. And while I could have probably prevented it and been passed it, that’s not what happened. And while I could what if things to death, I don’t think that’s going to really help anything.

I just need to process all the hurt and pain. Then I need to really accept the things that are in my life now. Accept things as they are and not some silly schoolgirl ideal. I know it’s going to take some time. I’ll get there. I’m hoping that I can process this all out soon.

I’m pretty done with the hurt.

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I don’t know why I’m writing this… I’m not sure how much stock I put into things manifesting itself because I’m asking for it. I don’t know if it’s happened in my life. But I’m feeling at a loss as a whole lately, so I’m grasping on to whatever straws I can.

Dear Universe or whatever benevolent spirit is out there,

I need to ask for something. This isn’t something I normally do, but I’m trying new things. It’s starting to seem to me that work alone doesn’t always net the response one would think it does. That’s not to say that I’m going to stop any work that I’m doing. It’s simply saying that with my work, I’m going to try this manifesting thing. I don’t want something that is just handed to me.

First thing, I’m going to keep working on my issues with depression and anxiety… but most importantly depression. I’ve been trying to work past this. Granted it has been greatly exacerbated as of a month ago. I understand that depression tends to be more of an ebb and flow… and I’m thinking that it’s ebbing. I would like the flow to be a bit longer.

Secondly, I want to write for a living. I want a job that makes me soul sing every morning. I want to wake up and sit at my computer and do what I love so much. I don’t mind starting with an internship and moving up… I just want to write.

Thirdly, NO MORE ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS IN MY LIFE, PERIOD. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about this. I’m tired of being consistently treated like shit. It might have taken me far too many years to be able to admit this, but I don’t deserve this shit. I don’t. I deserve partners who love and respect me. Thankfully, that’s what I have now.

Finally, I need more patience. This is something I’ve mentioned before… and mostly ad nauseam, I know. This time I’m not referring to circumstances. This time, I need more patience with people. I need to learn that things can take time, and that’s OK… especially when it comes to partners and other people in general. I also need the patience to realize that not everyone is going to be on the same track as I… and that’s OK. More importantly, I have to allow time to flow and let relationships find where they’re supposed to be. This is hard for me, but this is something that I need to find peace with. It feels like things are starting to find where they are supposed to be, I just need to wait.\

These are the things I want to manifest in my life, but not necessarily in this precise order. (No, really, I would really love the job thing to happen first.) So, I guess now we wait, right? OK… totally working on that final part again. Time to practice my patience.

Life is Funny

My life has been interesting as of late… and I’m not sure if I would qualify it as Chinese curse interesting. It certainly has felt that way for me for months. Each event seeming far worse and harder to overcome than the last. It was so bad that I felt as though I were on the brink of despair.

Sometimes life gives you something that is horrible at the time, but in hindsight might have been precisely what you needed in the first place. There are some things that wind up being blessings in disguise. And as much as I’m remiss to say it, I think what I went through may have been just that.

So, just after the Fourth of July, I got the results of a back x-ray that I took to see what was causing the pain in my back. That turns out to be early arthritis in my lower back. Not a surprise as I’ve had arthritis since I was 13 and had it in my knees. Not really surprising, and now it’s something that I’m going to fight against. I’ll be damned if I wind up in a wheelchair before my time.

More worrisome is that they also found a 5mm density in my lung/internal organ area.

So, of course this means something a lot more important… and dangerous. That means that they need to take another x-ray to make sure that something’s there… and if there is, it’s more than likely cancer. After all, cancer does run in my family. My grandmother died 2 years ago from cancer. My dad and grandfather have had to have tumors biopsied to make sure it wasn’t cancer.

While I was sure that I didn’t have cancer… it didn’t change that I was still scared. I’ve been in immediate fear for my life before. I’m even familiar of being in fear for my life at the hands of someone else for some time. This is the first thing that is hard to fight against. This is the first time I couldn’t watch something that could kill me. That scared me more than any of the other things that I could imagine. I’ve been abused and have had to handle plenty of other things in my life. This is different.

The two days I had to wait to have my chest x-ray were both long and excruciating. In that time, it makes one evaluate what it would mean if it turns out to be something, if it really is cancer. How would my life change? What would I need to do in order to have the longest and best quality of life is possible? How painful is chemotherapy?

It’s not a pleasant thought train, but it was a possibility.

The day of the x-ray came and I went in and did it. Tomo was super supportive as that’s the job he thinks he needs to do, be puppy emotional support for mommy. Then they asked me questions of why I was there to see if I understood why. I answered and broke down half of the way through. The x-ray tech read the reason and apologized. It didn’t take much for him to realize the reason for being there.

I took the x-ray and then all that was left was to wait. Thankfully my doctor wanted to give me an answer sooner than later. I wasn’t expecting to hear anything for a day. I heard back within the hour.

It came back that the density was an artifact.

That is the best news anyone could hope to get. I felt entirely relieved. All the scary thoughts that I had thought had gone.

Something more interesting came from this situation… something I didn’t know was possible. A week after finding out that I wasn’t in for having my life altered, something unimaginable happened. For the first time in about as long as I could remember I didn’t feel so anxious about things. It’s something I’m still not used to.

I don’t feel as awkward as I used to in social situations. Thinking about other things in my life doesn’t make me dreadful. This is both wonderful and weird. Because of thinking about everything that could have gone bad and that it could have been a very real situation. I think it helped put things in perspective for me. Life is so temporary and can change in the blink of an eye. There’s no time to fret over things that don’t matter. It sucks that I had to have a health scare for that point to settle into my brain. But here it is.

Kabuki by David Mack

Kabuki by David Mack

 

This has been a long time in coming. I’ve sat on these feelings for the last week and half, speaking about it only in vague terms. I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t just can’t keep quiet anymore.

There’s one thing I abhor more than anything in my life. That’s lying… and more importantly liars. Lying rises an ire in me more than anything. I’m currently in a place where my rage has gotten beyond boiling. To make this more understandable, I feel like I must tell my tale. Not by pointing fingers, but by actually writing it out. Maybe then I can actually sleep again.

I’ve been lied to recently… not just lied to, manipulated, blamed, and flat-out disrespected.

So, how did this all happen?

I asked a question where I was given one response. Now, if in the course of the conversation I was asked about it or been told that they had changed their mind, which would have been fine… or at least better. But it didn’t happen. I was given an unequivocal answer of something not happening. This is probably because maybe I could have made it to the same event. Then I mentioned I wasn’t likely to attend because I had to be adult. I had to put personal responsibility first.

Flash forward a few days.

Having another conversation… one where I keep mentioning the same suspicion that I have. Each time to respond to anything, but what I stated. Now, usually if something didn’t happen I’ve received an angry response of how dare me. This time it’s crickets.

This happens more than once. In the earlier part of this conversation I was asked for a thank you for something that I never received or saw, I was only told about. Somehow I’m supposed to know that a gesture I never received was for me. I find that to be weird, but say thank you all the same. Then I force the issue that I mentioned repeatedly earlier… because at this point there is no wiggling out of it.

They try to argue their way out of it. Denying that they gave me a flat answer. That what they did was OK because there was an ambiguous answer. The fact that they said they weren’t going to do something to only do it is lying. Then they go back and look at the conversation… and they’re caught in a lie. They gave me an unambiguous answer. More importantly, not only did they lie to me, they decided to do it behind my back, because I wouldn’t have found out about it anyways. This isn’t entirely true. I would have found out. There are enough mutual friends that I would have heard from somebody anyways. Besides, the truth does always come out eventually.

Flash forward another few days.

In another conversation… one where I’m supposed to get a heart-felt apology… guess what else I receive. That I’m partially to blame for this situation. Somehow, even though I wasn’t there, I didn’t put a gun to their head, I’m partially responsible for their decision.

At this point, I’m fit to be tied.

This hits every button that I know to be abusive. I was manipulated (I should be thankful for something that I not only didn’t know about, but never received just before the admission that they lied to me). I was lied to (given one answer then they turn around and do something else). That this was done behind my back, intentionally, after they knew I wouldn’t be attending is utterly disrespectful. And then there’s the blame.

So much of this is just not OK. Actually, strike that, it’s not acceptable. If I’m someone you supposedly love and care about, that’s not how you treat them. This is how you treat someone you don’t care about, that you have contempt for… and maybe that’s really it. Maybe these actions are out of contempt. I can’t answer because they are not my actions. I try to be as direct and honest in my speech and action as possible. I expect people to treat me the way that I treat them.

Apparently, that was too great an expectation for this person.

The worst part, is that I’m trying really hard to not let this betrayal color my other relationships… and in many ways it’s not. I’m being very vigilant to fight against the negative feedback loop of this is happening to me because I’m a shitty person. That somehow I deserve this. More importantly, I’m being ever vigilant about not falling into my pain cycle where I have a hard time believing anybody. This is incredibly hard for me. It’s how I’ve dealt with things historically. I get hurt badly, so I keep everyone at arm’s length.

There is one *huge* (and I really do mean huge) positive to come out of this. While I occasionally will fall into negative self-speak, I recognize I’m doing it and stop it. Even more, I realize that I don’t deserve this and that it isn’t my fault. The fact that I’m saying that I don’t deserve this is a huge step forward… like immeasurably huge.

I’m still struggling with fighting with pushing people away because I’m hurt. I’m trying not to. If I do actually do it, it’s not a conscious decision. I do know one thing though, that this is not ok. That this is something I shouldn’t put up with. What that means in the long-term… I don’t know. I’ll have to wait and see.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been having quite the hard time of things. This isn’t surprising since this is the time of the quarter that I hate so much. That’s right it’s PMS and on into that horrible female affliction known as a period. I’ve never really enjoyed it… I don’t know many girls that do.

For me, it’s always been a horrible mass of pain (I get horrendous cramps), moodiness, and general discomfort. The pain I can handle. Sure, it can be double over and can’t move bad. Frankly, physical pain just doesn’t hurt as much for me.

Then there’s the hormones. This I hate.

OK, I don’t mind my hormones. I hate the psychological mess they make me.

Normally, I get pretty weepy and generally low-level depressed around this time of the month. But not this time. Nope… because that would be easy and expected. This time, I have to be dealing with a lot of emotional go-booms and dealing really heavily with my PTSD from abuse.

This makes me an even bigger mess.

While I know I’m not alone, I feel even more afraid to ask for help. I’m afraid that I’m going to be judged because I can’t handle my shit. That I can’t just get over it. That I can’t pack it up in a nice little box and put it on a shelf somewhere to ignore and never see again.

I really wish that were the case. I wish dealing with this all was that simple.

Then there’s the worst part… I feel so damn emotionally needy that I don’t know what to do.

So, what of these go-booms you were speaking of earlier?

Well, funny you should ask…

I know that issues with one of my partners has been very well documented. The biggest part of it started in December. Then it looked like we were working through things, albeit somewhat slowly. Then he has the audacity to do the same thing for a second time. Not just once, but twice. So, yeah… I’m pretty angry, hurt, and frustrated. I feel that the time and money that I’ve been spending on couple’s therapy has been a huge waste. I’m not even sure, at this point, that there’s anything that might be left to salvage because of how I feel. You know how the saying going, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

In dealing with this, huge “Do Not Touch” buttons have been hit. That means that I’ve been triggered pretty hard… to the point of a panic attack. One of the things about complex PTSD that’s different from garden variety PTSD is that you won’t just get visual flashbacks, you also get emotional ones. All the emotions come flooding back… and there’s nothing that can be done to stop it.

And, I had to deal with my ex-boss. This is something that I haven’t really talked about. After all, it’s not all that important, normally. So, he decided to sit on my check two weeks after I quit. I had the mediation session for that. I will say this, I didn’t even get close to what I deserve. I got a fraction of it. At the same time, I do feel a good amount of vindication. You know your ex-boss is an asshole when the deputy commissioner tells you that if the wait wasn’t 7 months for a hearing, you should totally pursue that. That’s pretty bad.

The past three paragraphs have happened in the last week. This isn’t over months, this is in the last 7 days.

So, here I am… this huddled mass of hurt and pain… and a certain amount of anger. I’m not angry at anyone but the people whom I should be angry with.

Then there’s the hurt and the pain. This is the hard stuff… and I do mean hard.

This is the stuff that can make me ask the questions I don’t like to ask, because I know exactly where my mind is.

Yeah, I’m asking them.

So, what do I need now? I need love, reassurance of that love, I need to be held, and hugged, and all sorts of things that have to do with physical touch. I need it from the important people in my life. I need people to check up on me. I feel so pushed back to when I was a teenager that I feel awkward asking for what I need because, in my mind, I feel like I’m not going to get it. That I’m going to be told what I was told all the time when I was a kid, “You need to fight your own battles.” I feel both powerless and voiceless. (Yes, I appreciate the irony of the last sentence, given that this is in a blog post.) I want to ask for it… and constantly, but I’m too scared. I want to talk to my supportive partners about this, but, once again, I’m too scared. This is the only way I know how to. It’s the only thing that served me well when I was a teenager.

So, maybe that’s the point of what I’m writing this. Maybe it’s to get it out there. Maybe it’s to give voice to how I’m feeling because I don’t feel like I can accurately convey it verbally. I don’t know. But right about now, I feel hurt… hurt, sad, angry, frustrated, and alone, even if that is of my volition (but not really because CPTSD is a bitch).

Welcome to emotional flashbacks.

The Path Back

Now that I’ve actually confronted a lot of my fears and negative emotions from my abuse… I have other things that I need to deal with. All of which are dealing with this thing called abuse. None of it is any fun. You know what, it’s something that I do need to deal with. It’s something that I’ve hidden from for… well, more years than I care to count.

It’s something that I have decided that I can no longer sit on. It’s something that I’m not sure serves any purpose. I have cut out pretty much everything in my life that brought me here.

So, how do I fix this?

I honestly have no idea. I’m feeling triggered from having worked it all out. I figured out what feelings and fears come from all the different instances of abuse. Each instance has made it increasingly difficult for me to trust people. I’m at the point where the only way I can trust new people is if the people who I trust trust them. That’s a pretty sad way to live. I’m tired of being afraid. I’m tired of being afraid of being abandoned. I’m tired of the insecurity that this all breeds.

More than anything, I’m tired of feeling like I’m an outsider. PTSD is an asshole… and with more information and learning about how things like sustained abuse can affect the brain, it’s interesting to see how I see it in myself.

I do understand that everyone has the capability to see a bit of everything in themselves. It’s frequent that medical students do this all the time. It’s something that I’m aware of… which is why I tend to be a bit more skeptical. At the same time, it’s hard not to look at it and say… yeah, I can totally see this. You can’t be abused for 25 years and it not have a negative affect on your psychology. In many cases it forms the neurological responses in the brain. The brain re-wires itself in order to handle pain responses. It becomes a core part of your personality.

The thought of that scares me. The thought of trying to fix this and losing myself is scary.

Of course, the reality is that something like this can’t be fixed. There is no such thing as fixing. There is, however, trying to work around these responses. This is where I am. I want to work around crippling anxiety. I know that I can feel genuinely happy, if anything the time I have spent with my Significant Other and my new partner have taught me some very profound lessons on finding grounding people… people who I feel genuinely and amazingly happy with. I am just tired of this undercurrent of fear, anxiety, and depression.

So, I’m working on it. I’m not just working on it personally. I’m working on it clinically as well. I want to be the best version of me. No matter how much I embrace who I am now, I know that I could be better. This isn’t about being a perfectionist or anything of the sort. This is about me feeling comfortable in my skin. I’m hoping soon that I can be, finally.

It’s going to be work, just like all things in life.

There are some things that are worth working for. There are some reasons that are worth it. All of which are my own. I just want to be the best me I can.

These are issues that I still struggle with, to this day to one degree or another. I do have a better sense of self-worth, but I still think that if something bad happens… that I did something wrong for it to happen to me. The degree to which this instilled some severe issues with me is pretty bad. And what comes after just helped demolish more of the already crumbling foundation that is myself.

So, one would think that once my mom was out of hospital, that life might be smooth sailing, right?

Yeah… not so much.

My mom and divorced and she wound up meeting and marrying someone else. And, while that sounds all fine and dandy, this guy was a piece of work. I use was because he died of lung cancer my senior year of high school. I don’t have any fond memories of him either.

After my mom and him were married, first he would beat me… until I got both too big (they got married when I was 8) and too strong for that. After that, it was a constant barrage abusive words. If that wasn’t enough… I was also horribly bullied at school. I was an early bloomer, so I hit puberty before anyone else did. I heard it all… and I heard it for years. I heard it pretty much up until I changed schools in high school to make a positive change for myself, including someone threatening to kick my ass.

The bullying was pretty consistent. Granted, it couldn’t even compare to what people go through now. Everything was done face to face. There was none of the anonymous ganging up that we have now.

That wouldn’t have been too bad (OK, it was bad enough in and of itself), but it wasn’t the only place I was constantly hearing a barrage of hurtful words. I would hear it all the time at home. My stepdad would put me down all the time. It was a constant thing. I’d hear how ugly, stupid, and fat I was. I was always a bitch. I was called lazy. It affected me so profoundly that I would withdraw from people. I felt like I had no choice. I didn’t have a place I could go to where I would be accepted. At school I would be made fun of, at home I would be told how awful a person I was.

I would go to my mom about this, but she wouldn’t do anything. She’d tell me that I need to fight my own battles. I would tell her that my stepdad was also doing it and she wouldn’t do anything. I would tell her things that were private, only to have it thrown back in my face by my stepdad… where he would then be even crueller to me. It’s because of that I don’t feel like I can trust many people. I always have the fear that people will turn on me and that I can’t trust someone with a confidence. More than anything, it made me feel like I couldn’t trust my mother.

I didn’t feel like I had a safe haven away from the pain of being emotionally abused. I was abused at home and at school. Once I was raped, I didn’t know what to do. It was so bad that I felt a strong desire to not want to feel anything. I started thinking about doing heroin then. Anything to numb the pain inside of me. I never did heroin… instead I would cut myself. Anyway to make myself hurt as much on the outside as I did on the inside.

Then my stepdad was diagnosed with cancer that he later died from. Before he died, he apologized for the years of abuse… which I’m pretty sure would have continued were he to keep living. I still think it was more to clear his conscious than it was to make me feel better. I said I accepted it, but that wasn’t really the case.

Of course, this isn’t where the abuse ends.

After that, I would get into relationships that were highly toxic. At one point it extended past romantic relationships, but also into friendships too. I didn’t feel like I was worth any decent relationship. The friendships were about the same point as probably my most emotionally damaging relationships. I dated the guy for years. I kept trying to get him to approve of something, anything about me. He would never acknowledge that I would. He would constantly put me down. He would constantly make me feel like I had to do everything for him. I couldn’t have my autonomy.

I would dress up nice and he’d make me feel bad about it. I would need to do everything for him.

It hit me so profoundly that I would cheat on him repeatedly… then he would hit me with an even worse barrage of words. Every time it was designed to make me what he wanted. I wasn’t happy with where I was, but it was what I felt like I deserved. To this day, I still get the feeling that it’s all my fault. That I have to fight alone. That I deserve what’s happening to me. That I all I knew. Every boyfriend confirmed this, even those who tried to act like they’re more enlightened. If they couldn’t get what they wanted out of me, they would treat me poorly.

It’s pretty bad when you have someone get you to leave the dysfunctional relationship that you’re in so they can try to have their own harem. It became so problematic that I eventually had to take stock of what was going on and why I wasn’t happy. It boiled down to me being in nothing but emotionally unhappy relationships. I even took a year off to actually work on myself and to distance myself from it.

No matter how much I distance myself, I still have to deal with the emotions that are coupled with these issues. The feeling that I don’t have anyone to help me (despite the evidence of otherwise), that I’m constantly alone, that I’m not good enough to deserve anything good. I think that I deserve anything bad that happens to me. That I don’t deserve anything good. These are thoughts that I have no idea how to be rid of. These are thoughts that still plague me. They occasionally make me want to find a hole to just waste away in.

I keep trying to tell myself that I’m worthy to have what I have… but I don’t know if I believe that. I don’t know if I can let myself believe it. In many ways, I feel like the little girl being beaten into submission with no one to help me… and I don’t know how to ask for help. Recently, it’s become a daily struggle for me to ask for help. I don’t want to feel like needing help makes me a burden. I don’t want to feel like I don’t have anyone who can help me. I want to be able to accept the help of others.

More than anything, I want to stop being haunted by the thought that maybe, just maybe I shouldn’t really be here. That I shouldn’t still be living. That I struggle and fought so hard to survive, only to start feeling like it was for nothing. That I deserve to be alone. I’m trying not to fall into that despair, but it’s hard… and I do need help. I just don’t know how to ask for it.

Then there was living with my mom’s ex best friend… that was a living nightmare. Every night I would hope for some way to escape. I would wish that someone would take me away from this place. There were a lot of things that happened there that are absolutely beyond what would be acceptable to do to anyone.

Punishment in that house would come often for the eldest children. The younger children would get off scot-free. I remember plenty of punishment that would be about embarrassment. I used to love bananas as a child. I was punished once by being forced to sit on bananas… for something I don’t even remember, possibly something trivial because serious punishments were mortifyingly bad. Since that day, I can no longer have bananas without it evoking a response of disgust. It was so bad, that I just wanted to hide. I was constantly mocked, even while I was doing what I was asked to do. It wasn’t just by her either. Her children would also make fun of me. There was never a moment where I wasn’t being beaten down emotionally, if I wasn’t being hit.

The beatings, however, were bad enough.

I discussed it back in 2011, as I went to therapy to talk about the time where I was beaten because someone had written my name all over furniture that was mine (it was given to me by my godmother). She got so mad she repeatedly hit me. She wouldn’t stop. My mom was there and when I asked her for help to make it stop, my mom just watched. She did nothing. I have talked to my mom about this and she doesn’t remember it happening. Since she was out for the weekend from the hospital, it’s possible that she was heavily medicated. I just remember pleading for help, my eyes stinging from the tears as I was still being hit… and no one helped me. They all just stood there and watched.

After she was done, everyone left the room. I was left by myself, curled up in a ball, crying.

This might be the most compelling reason as towhy I have issues with asking for help. This, of course, is magnified by my mom repeatedly telling me that I have to fight my own battles. I’ve never had help, even when I needed it most desperately. So, it’s of little surprise that this incident might be the inciting incident.

This wasn’t the worst thing to happen to me in that house. One night, while I was sick with flu… I was forced to sleep on the drafty living room floor. The room that I was sharing with the other eldest daughter (it’s easier to abuse that which you hate if they’re together) was being used by… I think my mother… or a guy who was living in the house. Her genetic daughter was given the couch, so I wound up on the floor.

I was so chilled because my fever was high. I curled up and tried to keep warm despite the fact I was ill. I couldn’t sleep at all that night. I was chilled to the bone with fever. I got up several times in the night to vomit. I would moan because my body felt so awfully… yet no one checked on me or offered to let me sleep somewhere other than the cold and drafty floor. It wasn’t until everyone was getting up and getting ready to go to school and someone finally checked on me, that they realized that I was sick. I was about to pass out from exhaustion and sickness. Then I was allowed to sleep on the couch. I spent most of the day asleep while trying to let the flu pass.

I remember thinking about how this was like Cinderella. Being forced to take care of everyone and being treated so horribly… and that maybe, some day, my Prince Charming will come to save me from this torment. I was 7-years-old. I was looking for anyone to be my savior, anyone to help me and save me from this torment. I felt more like a slave and less like a person. This is a fact that I never let show at school. I maintained many good friendships, while hiding everything that was happening to me. I felt like I had done something to deserve this. That it was my fault that I was being treated that way, so I couldn’t report it to anyone. I felt like I had no self-worth. I certainly had no agency there. They threatened to throw me into a pool that I wasn’t comfortable with. I would never swim there because I was afraid that I would drown. It wasn’t because I didn’t know how to swim or anything… after the beating where no one would help me, I knew that no one would help if I were to flounder and then wind up drowning.

However, none of this is the worst thing I dealt with while living there. One night, the youngest daughter picked a fight with me… and I fought back. I didn’t take anyone’s shit that night. I think I had snapped after being constantly verbally beat down for so long. So, instead of hitting me, she opted for something worse. She grabbed a roll of duct tape and taped my mouth shut, straight off the roll. Every time I would try to move my mouth, lick my lips, try to talk… I could feel the tape pulling skin off the area it was touching. The pain was horrendous. I remember thinking when will this tape be gone. Then thinking about what it would feel like to have the tape pulled off.

I ran to the garage to hide. I was so scared of the pain. I knew it would be worse than when I would move my mouth… and I knew it would be a fast yank followed by burning and pain. I wasn’t sure whether it would make the area around my mouth, and the mouth itself bleed. I hid in the garage, not wanting to be found. I would rather keep the tape on my mouth.

Eventually, the tape was carefully pulled off of my mouth… but I was scared by that point. There was no reason to have someone use duct tape to cover my mouth. Any time I see anything that advocates the usage of duct tape for bondage purposes, I feel such a pure and hot rage. When I mentioned this instance to a therapist of mine, they called what happened torture… and I would agree. I didn’t know what would happen, why it was happening… and the thought of it being pulled off scared me. When the tape was gone, the area was red. It still pulled skin off my face, but there was no bleeding. It was red and hot and in pain.

I have such a great amount of anger when it comes to her. It was so bad at one point that I called her, justifiably given my experience, a psycho bitch. Everyone wanted me to apologize. I didn’t I stood my ground. I can’t stand that woman. I don’t want to see her again. I’m so pissed off by the degree of abuse she did to me. I felt like a slave, the red-headed stepchild (ok… I am a redhead, but that’s beside the point), the whipping boy. All I wanted to do was to escape. I wanted to be free of the abuse, the negative words, the beatings, the fear that I might die there.

Now… all I’m left with are some deep-seated fears of never having any help and anger… lots of anger. It also alienated me more from my family. No one helped me. No one told her to stop or stood in the way in defense. She was allowed to do whatever she thought was fit… even if I had no idea why. It’s forever altered me in so many painful ways. It made it hard for me to trust anyone… especially people I didn’t know. It put me even further in my shell and made me shyer because I was constantly belittled. I had no sense of being a person worthy of anything… and that’s the worst part. I thought I deserved the torture and pain. That I must have done something wrong… even if I knew that I did nothing.