I think I'm doing well. I've had huge ups and downs during the last four months, and even though there were some really troubled times, and some times when I wanted to revert to less than healthy behaviors, for the most part I coped. I didn't always cope well. And there were times when I really thought dying would be preferable (how melodramatic!). But I made it through those times, and I'm feel fairly level now. I've realized that there will always be things that I find upsetting--things that might not bother a person without my background. That's a part of who I am based on things I have experienced. My job is to work through any feelings that may come and not hide from or ignore them. I'm not good at that yet, but better than I was a year ago.
It's still a part of me. But now, instead of being afraid 80% of the time, I'm only afraid about 30% of it. Something that still bothers me is being alone in an enclosed space (like an elevator or a small room) with a man. It bothers me that even if I know the person well, and love that person--I still feel fear. There was a time during the Evergreen Conference when AtP and I took the stairs alone...and I know he would never hurt me...but I still felt that irrational fear. It made me sad. And when Darrin and I were at the airport recently, we took the elevator and, alone with my husband, that random fearful feeling returned. That time it really made me angry. I should be able to be with people I love, in any circumstance, without being afraid.
Fewer, for sure. I've had a few that woke me up, drenched in cold sweat, in the past month. There was a period of about two weeks this month when the nightmares were out of control, but they seem to be a little less extreme now. I need to find a better way to cope than just simply not sleeping, though. That's not a very positive coping device.
Okay, this one's still a challenge. Maybe it always will be. The sad truth is, if I have a good relationship of any kind, it's probably because the friend/spouse/etc. is incredibly patient, and for reasons that escape me, somehow finds value in our interaction. I'm still, on some level, trying to push people away, especially when I have a negative experience (usually involving someone male), or when I am overwhelmed with feelings of worthlessness. At those times I am also overwhelmed by feelings of love for people in my life, then guilt because they are exposed to someone like me, then frustration and isolation attempts because I don't know what to do with all the feelings. Then I wonder if I'll ever be able to just relax and accept friendship and love as it's offered--just be glad to be a part of it--quit worrying that I'm going to ruin someone... I had a friend tell me last week that he loved me, but it was a little too much work to maintain a friendship with me. He felt stressed when we talked, and worried about me. He said I was unpredictable, and often made him tired. He said he loved me, but we needed to take a break from each other. What can I say? He's right. But someday, I'd like to stop failing at this. On the bright side, in about 2 weeks it will be the one-year anniversary of when David and I began our rather unusual interaction. If I don't blow it before then, that will become one of my longest-standing friendships. Pathetic, I know, but still for me, quite an accomplishment. Also pathetic is the fact that I have to track my "friendship progress". Really--who does that???
Okay, some days are better than others. But the problem is that I always feel that my presence defiles others. I try not to feel that way. I understand that I didn't ask to be used. I understand that my will was overshadowed by another. But the fact remains that he did things to me that were filthy and vile--and he left me alone to wonder why, to deal with pain, and to clean up the mess, a symbolic gesture of my own desire to be clean again. But I've never felt clean. Deep inside, I'm certain that the filth that marks me will spread like a disease to anyone I touch. This is a feeling I want to be rid of. It aches more than anything else. So, I suppose I would have to say that I'm not doing well in this area. But still, better than a year ago, so that's progress.
Not good. But I'm starting to believe this is just something I'll need to be aware of and stay on top of it for the rest of my life. When I'm under stress, it's difficult (impossible) to eat. But I do it anyway, to a certain extent. Truthfully, this is something that causes me stress just to think about, so then I don't want to eat anyway--it's a vicious cycle. I think I'll leave this one for another day.
I haven't yet decided what I'll tell Therapist about further visits. Part of me wants to say, "Good job, Therapist! I'm all better. No need to keep coming. Thanks for your help!" But I also know that a couple of months from now I might wish I'd kept working. Ugh... I hate this. I'll keep thinking about it. I still have a few days before I have to decide.