Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Shame, sharing, support

About two years ago I lived my life numb.  All of my feelings were very muted, good or bad.  I started this blog a little over a year ago as a way to start processing and accessing my feelings.  Believe it or not, I used to never cry.  I had feelings but I was never really able to identify them.  You know how they teach you what feelings look like and what their names are in preschool?  Well, I just didn't understand because I didn't feel them the way they said I should.  I didn't want to have feelings.  I started this blog so I could have a place to purge all these locked up feelings--as a place I could be totally honest and open in a safe way...behind a computer screen and with total strangers.  It wouldn't be the same to write all of this down in a private journal because I'd still be hiding and being open with no one.  I wasn't sure what to expect at first.  I didn't even think people would read it at first, but then suddenly I had a huge number of readers and wasn't really prepared for that.  I changed my address and lost 95 percent of them, but that's okay.  I think I was kind of looking for some kind of network of support and compassion.  I was looking for people to listen to my story and not judge me for my feelings, behavior, and feelings.  Maybe I was looking for the kind of compassion and support I see on other peoples blogs, but I just seem to rub people the wrong way, but I have no idea why.  I have no idea why I incite anger in so many people.  I would change it if I could.

There have been a lot of sweet supportive people on my blog but they mostly come and go.  Ironically the people that read my blog the most in my stats are the people who leave me hurtful comments, like JenB and Fran and others.  I get emails from people sometimes that express that they question my honesty and dislike something about me.  That freaking hurts.  I wish I was just writing some kind of morbid fairytale.  I don't understand why so many things have happened to me.  I really don't understand.

It really hurts me that people believe that because I attempted suicide and I need treatment that children need to be protected from me.  It's easy to make those kinds of judgements when you don't know me and have never had to experience what I have and the consequences I have today because of them.  It's easy to say what you would do when you've never had to make those kinds of decisions about family members or yourself.

I wrote a very long blog entry about how hard November is for me and all the reasons why and everyone focused on one specific paragraph and their focus was on why I deserved what happened, the reasons why I deserved it, and that they'd do the same thing.  People made a lot of assumptions and judgements about a situation they no very little about.  They have made judgements on who I am as a person and assume they know how I act in life because I vomit up all of my pain on this stupid little screen.  Even if your assumptions were correct, why is it necessary to tell me that you totally see why someone would leave me?  This blog is about my me, why can't I just write about my feelings without having to justify them?  Am I not allowed to feel devastated even if people's assumptions are true?
I wrote this long entry about November.  I wrote about the Thanksgiving that I was violently raped when I was barely 9 years old by someone who outweighed me by 110lbs.  Someone I really loved and trusted.  Do you know what that does to a nine year old body and Psyche?  I wrote about losing another family this year.  I wrote about losing my siblings and the only person in life that ever supported, encouraged, and loved me as a child--the only person that never went away until cancer  took her away.  I wrote about my loss of fertility and how much that hurts.  I wrote about my future adoptive parents ditching me and moving to Chicago when I went to the college they wanted me to go to.  They were expecting a baby so I didn't matter to them anymore.  I wrote about aging out of foster care.  I wrote about all the scary feelings and behaviors that are happening to me right now and the only thing people care about is how justified it is that I was kicked out of a family.  Another family that promised me forever and then you people call me selfish and self absorbed because I'm devastated by it.

Do you know how much that freaking hurts?  Do you know how much it hurts to pour out your guts and write about the must vulnerable things you experience, even the embarrassing and shameful ones and then be attacked while you're so open and raw?  I know I put myself out here for anyone to read, but that doesn't mean people have the right to be harsh and cruel and do it with fake names and emails.

I created this blog to give myself a place to be vulnerable and admit that really bad things have happened to me and how much it still hurts me.  I can't say these things to people in my real life so I made a space where I can show myself to other people and be totally open, honest, and raw but I can do it in a way that feels safer than in person.  It's scary for me to share my feelings and talk about the things that have happened.  I'm not used to doing that.  I have never told anyone in my adult life about anything that has ever happened to me.  A lot of my friends don't even know that I grew up in foster care.  I've never shared anything major with anyone before this blog.  I feel so much shame about what happened to me in the past and what's happening to me now.  I feel so much shame about my rape when I was 9 and the three years of sex with my foster father that followed.  I feel so much shame and fear about what is happening to me now.  Do you know how scary it is to feel, see, hear, smell things from the past?  It is REALLY freaking scary.  Writing these things here made it a tiny bit easier to tell my therapist about some of it.
I was yearning to create a network of readers who care about my story, history and journey.  People who want to offer supportive or GENTLE guidance, but right now it feels like not even people on the freaking internet want me around.  I don't want to die but I can't live with all of this shit inside me.  I need a place to purge and purge and purge until there is room enough for me to be a human being, but I can't do that when it incites so much anger and lets face it...some really fucking mean comments.  It's easy to judge someone based solely on the most inner thoughts and feelings and behaviors without ever meeting them in person.  I'm not a total loser.  I do good things.  I have a few friends.  I graduated from college with a really high GPA when only like 1% of foster children even go to college and I did this without any kind of support system.  I've never been in trouble with the law other than a speeding ticket.  I've never been on welfare or public assistance.  I've always supported myself.  I had a full time job for five years until this summer and will have it once again because I've been rehired and start in a month-ish.  I volunteer and have taken in the animals that nobody wanted, the sick, the old, the crazy.  I'm not a saint, but I'm not this horrible creepy dangerous human being that people should hide their children and animals from.  I'm actually very good with both.  My history is dangerous.  The things that happened to me are what is dangerous to me.  I am not dangerous to people. 

I am unstable on this blog and when I'm alone.  I write about what happens to me internally on here, but no one knows it it real life.  I freak out in private...even from my girlfriend.  She has never seen me have a panic attack.  The only person who has ever seen me have a panic attack was Dr. Patrick and my friend Stacey and I was freaking mortified.  Of course who I am on this blog is part of who I am in real life.  What I write about are my wounds and I'm writing about them in hopes that they might not be as infected in the future.  This is my place to get it all out so it doesn't seep out too much in my real life.  I write what I can't talk about on this blog.

Yes, for about six months I let my friend, K read my blog.  She begged me for the address and I gave it to her because fuck, I badly want someone to love me.  All of me.   It was a huge mistake.  I never should have done it.  This should have been a place separate from my offline life.  And yes I made some huge fucking mistakes in our relationship.  I fucked up by sharing her (very meaningful and most amazing) emails while I was seriously not rational.  While I may have done some stupid things I have never been dangerous to other people.  I've just needed help.  Maybe I have done things that warrant being thrown away... again.  Blog readers keep saying they are just trying to protect the little boy from being hurt by me, but that's it at all.  She has never once talked about that.  But lets take him out of the picture for a second.  It hurts that the person who had been calling herself my mom and family no longer wants to be my family, no matter what the reason.  I needed help and I needed someone to stick by me.  Maybe I didn't deserve it, but I needed it.

I have PTSD.  That's not a mental illness, it's a mental injury.  You can even see PTSD on a brain scan.  My brain is wounded and the pain is intense.  Sometimes I think soldiers who come back from war are shown more compassion than people like me who have suffered years of extreme abuse.  For example...they don't need children to be protected from them.  My brain really hurts and often physically.  I get migraines fairly frequently.  I might be in my twenties but I never got to be 3 or 6 or 9 or 15 so I get stuck in those childish places sometimes.  I'm all over the map maturity wise.  In some ways I'm way beyond my years and in others I'm stuck as a little kid.  I get stuck in the past and I feel and sometimes act out my past and it hurts.  I feel the same things physically as I did as a child.  That means I actually feel the body sensations, not just remember them.  I feel the physical abuse and as embarrassing as it is, I feel the sexual abuse too.  I smell the smells, I hear the sounds, I taste the tastes.  It REALLY hurts but what hurts more is being judge so harshly for what is happening to me especially when I'm being so open and honest about it.  I may have not gone to war for the government but I fought a huge fucking war to make it to my 20's.  PTSD is not something I chose but it doesn't make me a dangerous person.   

Saying something cruel and then prefacing it with "you put yourself out here" does not make what you say okay.  Saying that you know it's cruel doesn't take anything away from the fact that you're being cruel.

Where I'm going with all of this is I really wanted a place to open myself up a little bit and learn about myself too.  I wanted a place where I could talk about all the things that are happening to me and all the things that have happened to me.  I wanted a healthy way to deal with it.  A less scary way of doing it than speaking it out loud to real live people in front of me.  But this blog doesn't feel very safe anymore.  I am not sure it's something I can keep doing.  It's been my only outlet for over a year.  It's hard to put myself out there, but I've been doing it to better myself and maybe help someone else through my own pain and fear.

Maybe some of you find me whiny and self absorbed, but I don't understand why you keep reading my blog if you hate what I have to say.  Anyway I think ending this blog might be something I need to do because I've cried so hard today mostly because I reread all of K's letters and then had so many people attack something so close fresh and so devastating and totally ignore the rest.  Seriously how can you people only care about K's feelings and ignore everything else I wrote about?  How can you people not understand that my feelings are my feelings no matter how much you think I deserve what happened?  What am I supposed to write?  "The family that I've had for the last five years dumped me because I wrote some angry emails after trying to kill myself but I guess I deserve it so I have no feelings about it."

I have CPTSD which is not an illness.  It's an injury.

Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a psychological injury that results from prolonged exposure to social or interpersonal trauma, disempowerment, captivity or entrapment, with lack or loss of a viable escape route for the victim.

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) is a condition that results from chronic or long-term exposure to emotional trauma over which a victim has little or no control and from which there is little or no hope of escape

People who suffer from C-PTSD may feel un-centered and shaky, as if they are likely to have an embarrassing emotional breakdown or burst into tears at any moment. They may feel unloved - or that nothing they can accomplish is ever going to be "good enough" for others.
People who suffer from C-PTSD may feel compelled to get away from others and be by themselves, so that no-one will witness what may come next. They may feel afraid to form close friendships to prevent possible loss should another catastrophe strike.
People who suffer from C-PTSD may feel that everything is just about to go "out the window" and that they will not be able to handle even the simplest task. They may be too distracted by what is going on at home to focus on being successful at school or in the workplace.
Read more about it here if you want: