Counseling--not the end yet
In order to understand what happened in the hours following my meeting with David, there needs to be some background given. So in the interest of putting everything together (for myself, mostly), I'm posting some exerpts from one of my super-secret blogs. I need to say that I keep those blogs private for the simple reason that they're not fun reading, and much of what I say is really ugly. However, because I've been assigned to put all the connections in writing, I'm pulling from those blogs and putting everything here. I suppose I'm just warning anyone who happens to be reading that this probably won't be delightful. And I'm okay if no one reads it--I just need it here for now.
He tore my night shirt. It was light blue, made of woven cotton, and it was my favorite. There was a picture of a little girl in a flower garden on the front of it. I picked up the shirt and fingered the tear. It was small, but it made me sad. Carefully, I folded the shirt and placed it in my bottom drawer, then pulled out a clean shirt and underwear and turned to my bed. I took off the soiled sheets, white with clusters of pink and red roses, and made my way downstairs.
In the bathroom I cleaned the unidentified fluid from my legs and washed my genital area repeatedly until I felt cleaner but even more raw and sore. I had begun to tremble as shock set in. I couldn't stop the tremors--I wrapped myself in a towel and sat on the edge of the tub, but eventually slid to the floor where I rocked myself, trying to forget the things that had happened moments before. Eventually, I slipped the clean nightshirt over my head, ignoring the bruises that were beginning to show on my chest, stomach and arms. Carefully I pulled the underwear over my aching legs. Then I put the sheets into the washer with the towels I had used, and turned on the machine.
I went to the linen closet and pulled out the only pair of sheets available--tan striped. I hated striped sheets. Numbly I went up to my bed, made it as quickly as possible, and got inside. I was very cold, and still shaking. I felt one tear on my cheek, and then I sqeezed my eyes shut as tightly as possible, wrapped the sheets and blankets closely around my body, and wondered what to do next.
I fell asleep fantasizing that someone would come take care of me. No one did. Not then, not the next time, not ever.
I have to say that at this point I'm losing some clarity of thought. My past and present seem to be converging in one spot. I believe I've mentioned that, far more devastating than the abuse itself, was the feeling of loneliness and weakness that seemed to consume me when I was left to clean up and dress myself. The most terrifying part of my repeating nightmares of the past few months has been the knowledge that I would have to live through those feelings again and again. When I finally was able to direct the dreams successfully, my greatest triumph came because I was able to dream of a friend who helped me. That friend, of course, was Tolkien Boy. He became the chosen one through a series of dreams in which I was able to talk with an embodiment of myself as a child. I'm not analyzing this, just stating facts.
I tried to introduce a number of people into my dream (including Christ--too abstract, and Darrin--who seems the obvious choice). For reasons I won't go into right now, everyone except TB was rejected. In retrospect, it's easy to see why he was the person who could help me, but I was a little bit discomfitted when I realized that he was the one I'd be asking for help. I'll save that for another time. For now, this is the blog entry in which I recorded what happened when I was finally able to successfully direct my dream sequence:
January 11, 2007
Tuesday night was frustrating. I kept waking up. I couldn't maintain Tolkien Boy's presence, and the dream became fragmented and even more terrifying. I was exhausted all day yesterday, and I didn't want to try the lucid dreaming techniques last night.
However, once I got to bed I decided I'd try for just a few minutes. I did the initial visualization. I remembered the things TB had said to me today and a few days ago. I told myself that I had Darrin's support, and he'd be with me physically if I needed him. I reminded myself that this might help the nightmares cease. I fell asleep thinking about the things I needed to remember.
I don't know anymore if I'm actually asleep or in the twilight between sleep and waking. I feel awake, but recognize that I'm not. There is no recognition of my real surroundings, I am truly back in the bedroom of my childhood. Darrin disappears and I cannot hear or feel him next to me. So I suppose I must be sleeping, even though I feel alert and conscious. I found myself in darkness, in my bed. Tolkien Boy was seated on the edge of the bed next to me. My cousin entered the room and the nightmare began.
Over the past few days, when I could keep TB in the dream, he simply was a presence. He made no comment or movement. This time he was substance. In the most difficult times, I sometimes felt him touch my shoulder or head. At one point, he reached down and took my clenched fist into his hand, and just held it. The abuse seemed to go more quickly, and was more endurable.
When my cousin left me, TB did, as well. There was a feeling of abandonment greater than I have ever felt before. I lay feeling incredible pain and defeat, my eyes shut tightly. Then I was aware of someone with me. It was TB. Somehow, he had found an old quilt, made by my grandmother. He carefully wrapped me in it, pulled me onto his lap and held me. For the first time that I can recall, I started to cry. I don't know how long I cried. There is a lot of sadness in me. When I had finished, TB placed me on the bed, walked to my dresser and got clean clothes for me. We went downstairs. He hesitated at the bathroom door. I felt discomfort, knowing that at this point I would clean up and dress. Once again, he disappeared.
I sat on the edge of the tub. I knew I needed to wash. I was too tired, too scared, too sad that I was once again alone. A few moments later, TB handed me a warm washcloth, took the blanket, and turned away while I cleaned up. I was amazed at the effort it took to clean myself. I was so tired. I finished, placed the cloth on the edge of the sink, and sat down. It was too much of an effort to do more. I didn't care anymore that TB would see me. I didn't care what would happen. I was just so exhausted. TB took a towel and dried my front and back. He helped me put on a clean night shirt, and I put on the underwear myself. Then I began to shake and had to sit on the floor. My whole body was in pain.
It's a good thing dreams give us super powers. TB picked me up, wrapped me in the quilt once again, and carried me upstairs to my room. He placed me on the floor, changed my sheets for me, and helped me into bed. At this point I was sobbing from reaction, pain, and gratitude. As he had said he would, he came in next to me and held me until the trembling stopped. He was very warm. I noticed because I felt so cold. As I grew warmer the pain seemed to grow less. Eventually I fell asleep (how odd to dream about sleeping...).
In my dream I woke a couple of times. TB was still there, still holding me. Several times throughout the entire dream sequence, he reminded me that he wasn't going anywhere, and told me he loved me. For the first time, I felt a sense of safety. I hadn't had to ask for anything. All that I felt I needed had been given to me.
I slept through my alarm this morning. I never do that. I was late for seminary. I actually slept last night--real sleep. I have awakened each morning since the first part of November with "ghost pains". I know they're not real, but they feel as if they are. I didn't have those this morning. I'm actually more tired today, but I think that's because I'm recognizing how sleepy and exhausted I've been for the past few months.
There are some things I've been thinking about this--firsts in my life:
1. I talked to someone besides my husband or a therapist about the things I felt I needed--things that exposed my vulnerability and that were extremely personal. For me, that's so huge.
2. I pursued an avenue that helped me, even though I was skeptical. I didn't do so alone. I talked about this with Darrin, Therapist, and TB. Normally I wouldn't do that, just in case I failed.
3. I asked for and accepted personal help from an outside source, someone who was unrelated to me by blood or marriage, which is unheard of in my life. I was honest with him and allowed him to see my weakness and need. I'm still feeling vulnerable about this--but I did it. That's something.
I think I'm going to make it. Even if the dreams don't stop, I think I can deal with them.
Okay--this is getting too long. I'll continue later.