Finding Self

Where is self?

The pain, emotional and physical,
has shown demanding intolerance,
there will be no denying its existance,
pain’s presence invokes omnipresence.

Aroursed to fight… or flee,
loosed demons that betray,
voices, internal dialogue,
unvanquished torment!

Survival’s demanding sources,
doling out more pain… persistant
tolls on body and mindfulness,
dampened soul, like deadened sound.

The silence hurts beyond limits,
hurling to our body memories,
flashbacks, dissociations
intended survival, walls to self.

Where is “self” hidden now?
In what room of the fortress?
Will doors be opened upon request?
Go seeking, a journey, a quest to self.

Childhood Sexual Trauma therapies and experience. Sharing welcomed.

I am in a region where many types of therapy are in high demand and therapists abound. It’s hard to find one who is available, and well trained. There are many who need therapy for what I’m dealing with, here’s a video to expose the reason: Video about male childhood sexual assaults and rape.

Here’s a story, similar to mine, about the evil of being taken advantage of and subjected to rape as a minor, age 16, by two men I had met that evening. A story of childhood rape.

I have found, that my connection with my therapist, her willingness to get to know me, and especially my idiosyncrasies has given the best results. I’ve experiences from about a dozen therapists in my lifetime, and some 3 or more psychiatrists. I’ve seen she takes her training seriously, and knows my need to question how things work, so I know what to expect. It has been instrumental toward the progress I’ve realized thus far.

I’ve also studied Janina Fisher, Pat Ogden and Bessel Van Der Kolk among others, to understand what my mind and body are going through. Here are therapies I’m now aware, please review: A video about the importance of Sensorimotor Therapy

I’ve mentioned EMDR therapy in a previous diary: EMDRIA, and overview.

Here’s a video about Polyvagal theory.

Dissociation and childhood trauma therapy: An overview of Dissociation.

A therapy unknown to me, but on my radar is Neurofeedback via brain mapping:

An overview of Neurofeedback therapy.

 

A video explaining Internal Family Systems therapy.

Depression, self loathing, dissociation, and the effects of survival mode with body reactions are entwined in all this. Every survivor has parts to heal that move toward healing, protecting, or escaping, but somehow with the hope of thriving. I know the therapy work, studies and research, writing, advocating for myself are helping me with healing. I share to interest others in finding what helps themselves, comparing to my experiences if they wish. I share to be relatable and I’m open to listening to others, to validate their experiences, and share in community.

 

The parts I’m working on need safety to heal, to deal with all the above. I’m doing things for my youngest memories to my older youth, it’s called Internal Family System and relates to a lot of me. The connection of my parts, my inner children, a sense of my internal family system, linking the depth of my parts to their trauma, neglect, bullying, molestation and rape, is this added description and next link :
Janina Fisher helps describe therapies

I have spent a lot of time on parts, the IFS therapy. It’s been important especially because I’ve been blocked from seeing my inner self by dissociation. That’s where I block a problems source and its affect on me. The revelations were profound, especially self loathing and need for self love. It’s physically felt with sometimes visceral intensity, so my therapist also taught me self care. She worked with Sensorimotor therapies that sought to bring to my core, what small love could be built with the work.

Metaphor describes the work: It took months for me to fix a massive hole in the bucket of my core, unable to build any beginning of self worth. The internalized loathing so deep, I wished not to be, that I wasn’t worth to be. I cried and cried… I couldn’t stop and she (my therapist) let me, and guided me back, showing me a few tools that helped build some self worth. It’s then that I began to see myself and my parts, thereby realizing the depths of trauma in my mind, and felt by my body. The dissociation had hid to much from me. The work leads me to accepting my parts and their past traumas.

I continue my work, accepting, because I’ve discovered all these things. This journey has ups and downs, memory triggers and trials of pain. To me, there’s the lessening of that impact, finding my brains way of rewiring the circuits to build ways I can cope. There are those, who will find this work extreme, and too difficult. There needs to be hope, and study, and small steps that their next therapy can help get them there. Small steps are key.

My therapist has some intuitive connection to what makes me tick. She’s begun using buzzing paddles, toward small experiences of fear and rage, etc…. I’m to take a single memory and visualize, see connections to me, but to visualize it up on an imaginary screen. She wants it like a movie is playing to disconnect it from the part of me that owns the memory, it’s to make a safe space. While I do that, she’s asking: “what do I see?” and my imagination is excellent, it’s a gift and helps my discovery of the unknown, to unlock old fear. This fear has been lurking with my hyper vigilance, and triggers fight, flight, freeze, fawn, submit or attach Survival Mode responses.

One session for a fear memory, seeing a particular fear, and what it looked like to me, became intense. I started by creating a mist on the imaginary screen; it roiled, it moved, as if alive, tendrils, swirls, masses of something moving. It was white/gray/yellow/orange, and I didn’t know what it meant. That mist/fog was all I saw at first. Then I saw the nightmare, a scene in the mist. I had that nightmare when I was about 6 and it may trigger you? In the nightmare, I am barely holding myself up at the surface, having fallen into a hole, and hands grasping my ankles, pulling me down. This time though, with some vengeance, with anger as the adult seeing me at 6, I imagined my adult self intervened, and got in there trying to attack what was attacking me.

My therapist uses regular intervals to stop and ask what I see and suggest things. That nightmare was intense during my youth, and recurring irregular times over my lifetime. The nightmare memory was putting me into a strong physical reaction, so we went back to that mist. I was having blocks, other emotions invading the space. We ended it when she directed me to put it all away in my safe storage, which we had set up in our earliest sessions.

I will say, I think I’m still a fearful man, but, maybe seeing that mist nightmare, and my adult intervention, it’s allowed me to feel less fearful and understand why I feel fear. I had no connection to a caregiver that relieved my fears. I managed by not thinking about them, and that led to dissociating.

Rewiring is the purpose of this and many therapies; to engage my thinking brain. To take a part of wiring from the survival mode part of my brain and rewire to my Frontal Cortex region. That’s the thing about these types of therapies, it’s for interrupting the circuit I had about fear, and seeking to find new circuits for processing fear.

If you’ve questions or reactions, ask/comment below if your moved to? I ask you consider this topic, and why I share; it’s intent is to help others while sharing what’s helped me.

Thank you community, for your consideration and care.

Honesty, writing, and therapy

I’m still working out why I want to write this in public? I think I’m nobody, in that no one really knows me, note that what may be perceived as ‘something to lose’ does register. I might find that this is read in future by a potential employer, and be denied employment. That will be their loss, my honesty and integrity are impeccable, with a depth I haven’t delved to reveal here. I do tell you a lot about me, but, I’m not being outspoken, this writing is all about my trauma and healing narrative.

 
My personal views have barely been hinted at. I want to continue my narrative, without the baggage of my politics, or other. This is meant to be part of my process. Furthermore, processing requires recharge, and my rape post has shaken my emotional wellbeing
Today I’m off, and it’s a sunny day, I love music, there’s a lot to read, some place I might go, and a few things around the house I must do. I also am taking this time to write, it’s motivation for my parts, which is the sense of an understanding that what is considered me, delves into how I know the many ages of my internalized boy, their age of me is work and what they need is now my concern.

 
Therapy is very interesting. It will incorporate a new field of study, it is being a student again. Many of us refer to all this as our journey, and employs processing upheaval and doing work on brain circuitry occurs. I’ve studied this phenomenon and have found it fascinating. There are a few ways to describe it, and this will be my take. I’ll look at the body, mindfulness, the brain featuring EMDR and Sensorimotor, survival mode, and lastly dissociation .

 
This book “The Body Keeps the Score” in my humble opinion is quintessential reading to understand trauma as it relates to one’s body. I look at it as taking the long view of a recovery journey: https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/06/20/the-body-keeps-the-score-van-der-kolk/ . The book is one way to get to the point, and then, I have done enough work for myself, that to me, I want to get to the gist and to get right into the work. I will work on the nuance, and Bessel works on presenting breadth, I can stay his course, or find the chapters and passages that work for my self direction. The book is good, he’s being inclusive, but each distinct part of that breadth is repetitive to me, and I seek work on cptsd from rape. That’s my two cents.

 
The eminent value of Bessel’s book has been a keen introduction and in time real perception of attuning to my body. He wakens that consideration, and two therapies in my experience partake of being aware of the body, and that awareness of one’s body becomes evident. The first is EMDR, and the second is Sensorimotor. Mindfulness or self care are also needed when doing any of this work: http://www.meditation-ptsd.com/, I’m putting this here, instead of the end, because this study enables the work of EMDR and Sensorimotor. It’s that imperative to realize the work must have self care.

The rest of this post are links. It will take a lot of time to read and research. I encourage it as I’ve done. These are how one recovers. They’re not exclussive, there are others, and a good trauma informed therapist will get to know their patient and direct therapies to their needs. Therapy is a process and evovles as one peels away layers of themself. Then, the person gets to know themselves better and will be more involved in helping with their care, being a partner with their therapy. Please read these links when you’ve a chance.
EMDR:
http://emdria.site-ym.com/?page=emdr_therapy
Sensorimotor:
https://www.sensorimotorpsychotherapy.org/articles.html
Dissociation:
http://www.isst-d.org/default.asp?contentID=76#diss

I’m going to be crying while I type this… This… this is the rape.

Feelings and physical manifestations: Constricted throat, intense pressures in my head, especially behind my eyes. Tears. Shaky hands, and f’ing determination to tell my story!!

 

My sister had decided she also wanted to move down with dad and brothers. She showed up, and space wasn’t going her way. I was with my brother at first, but felt awkward. I moved into a closet under the stairs… Harry Potter was 2nd!! She and my younger brother figured out how to share the large bedroom, my dad in the spare. I think it was about a month or so and she  found a boyfriend in Urbana Ill.

I had gotten my drivers license the end of 10th grade, age 16. I drove to Champaign to see Star Wars during this time, it was late summer 1977. Not long after, maybe just before Sept., My sister invited me once to go have pizza with her and boyfriend Mohammed. I enjoyed myself. At their apartment I was given a beer and we listened to music with Mohammed’s, roommate and my sister.

The next visit I discovered the roommate had pot. I hadn’t had any for a very long time and really wanted some. They obliged and I also had some beer. Unfortunately I had some bad food and too many beers with the pot. The mix caused me to throw up. My sister was nice about it though.

Then the next and last time I visited, I was not as welcome, and I really wanted pot again. Really badly. I accepted an invite to some party the roommate was going. When we got to the apartment a small weak joint was passed around, and a few beers were available. It was a party for the Arab men to relax and some seemed to want sex with each other. I was very uncomfortable, but had never judged others. Two guys made out on the far side of the room, in front of everyone. I pretended not to notice.

Late and by now, and I had lost track of the roommate, it was too late to get back to join my sister and Mohammed, I felt it necessary to ask to stay the night. The two guys didn’t see a problem with that. I had been 16 for not quite two months?

TRIGGER WARNING:
It was sometime in the deep night that I became aware of a presence. Tense, afraid, confused and in shock, I felt a touch, and the person made an effort to lay on top of me. It was what I had seen the two men do when they were making out. I was desperate, and imagined my voice seemed panicked, but I tried to talk, awkwardly I ask “what do you want”? The response was to join him in his bed. Now I really panicked, I resisted not moving and sat silent for a bit; then asking if I could just stay and sleep, leave me alone. “No”, he insisted, I had slept over, it was right I go with him.

I was that skinny weakling, and this man began to pull my arm, and proceeded to pull me to his room. He then insisted I undress and lay on my belly. He made his way on top of me, and worked at penetrating me, while I worked at pushing my buttocks together when I could. He had smeared something on his penis, and he slide in me a short way, then I would I try harder to tighten my buttocks. I don’t know how long this went on, I was in shock, stunned at my predicament, and thinking of what I could do to leave/escape?

I got up after he left for a bathroom trip, and I went myself, and tried to stay in there. He knocked and kept insisting I return. Soon he was replaced by the second man. He said he wanted me now, it was his turn. Trapped, naked, in shock having been raped, I didn’t know what to do? I didn’t know what all this meant. I gave up after much knocking, fearing it could provoke something, and went with the other man.

He wanted oral sex, and I didn’t know what to do, panic had me forget that one other time? He put my hand on him and showed me how he wanted to be rubbed, then pushed my head down and told me to try putting my mouth on it. I don’t have much more memory of this , that was about when I went blank. I thought writing would bring the memory back, and it does to some degree, but then that blank spot has remained blank. It’s said that in survival mode, we dissociate and forget the trauma.

I’m not sure If I slept, I’m not sure when they left. When I got up from that second room, I found my clothes, dressed and searched for money to get home. I thought I might find a taxi, or bus? I eventually made it home, but can’t recall how. I ignored what happened and tried to do whatever else there was to do. I don’t recall having to explain where I was, and I didn’t bring up the topic. I suppressed it, though acted out badly, most of the next 9+ months of my 16th year on earth.

Continues later…

 

Rape culture is offensive to me, This may trigger survivors, please be concerned for yourself.

Please, deep breathing may be necessary to finish this blog post.


I’ve been reading a lot these past couple of months, and recent weeks have been very active. I’ve been seeing sexual assault through new lenses, and working for myself, and now, toward healing and helping others. I didn’t know much about pushback until last night. I ran across FACE in my local (this past Sunday) newspaper. The sections included the actions concerning a Gustavus Adolphus campus rape allegation, and results (that link I found), this is the newspaper link: StarTribune Womyn’s Awareness Center pushback to campus Title IX actions.

It seems the early work in March of this year by Gustavus Adolphus students has led to a Sept 2nd, 2016 posting for a full-time Title IX staffer and I found it’s been going on around campus’ for some time Title IX jobs on campus’ around the U.S.

It’s “FACE” that caught my attention. Because, Sherry Warner-Seefeld and her FACEBOOK feed SAVE bothers me as much as FACE does. FACE was started by Sherry and two other mothers. She’s a mother whose son was accused of an on campus rape. The actions of FACE and their facebook feed SAVE are exacerbated by another group calling themselves COTWA or the Community of the Wrongly Accused

To those 3 entities, add:  a model for action at Help SAVE our Sons; suing the schools and or victims, maybe law enforcement, etc… but sue them they do. Sherry is one of three founders, and they got the aid of Judith Grossman as another founder. Sherry thinks Campus investigation methods are witch hunts, and denying due process, creating more victims . What? A big part of the problem she foments, is the [he said vs she said] paradigm. It foments denying the reports victims! In the case of Sherry’s son, they actually achieved an arrest warrant for her son’s victim! Wow?! So, in my opinion, she’s now a double+ victim, and her son is enabled to make the excuse: alcohol is a defense to rape!! That’s horrific! Their tactic, FACE, SAVE, COTWA and others, is to build doubt of the victim’s word,  repeated denial and fomenting doubt, until it becomes true to them (Sherry and her son), but horribly, it may then become true for others and lunatics. There are plenty of lunatics.

What lens do you dear reader, think the public, Title IX coordinators, administrators and others who work on these allegations could look through to make progress ensuring safety, integrity, avoid revictimization of the rape victim, and foment support for rape victims rights? We know the [he said vs she said] paradigm is flawed, and the first step is to draw the line where rape victim rights vs accused are in line with a just outcome. Which means the rapist must have a police report filed against them, and why wouldn’t a judge be involved. The police have obstructed justice for the victim too often, and even if I grudgingly respect where Sherry, Judith and others are coming from as mother’s standing up for their children, It’s reprehensible to disregard the rape culture they’re not addressing. The problem of campus rape and many other forms of sexual violence is epidemic. Their push back puts up an impediment for rape victim justice; It misleads and in my opinion is unworthy of the attention they’re getting.

I think the first step is to listen to the rape victim, acknowledge they’re heard, and listen some more. I think there’s a role for advocates here that is seemingly wholly ignored, especially by Administrations that are forced to follow overwhelming privacy restrictions. I’ve noticed that Administrations are looking through the lens of the Clery Act and like the Gustavus Adolphus incident, diminished the urgent need for on campus awareness almost 2 months. That does not seem to fit the rules of disclosure to the campus community in my book. It’s part of the culture and what these new Title IX coordinators must address going forward.

Gawd, I hope I don’t trigger anyone, but angst or becoming aware and called to action is a good thing. There are too many lives denied their hope of healing. The push back, is going to have push back!

 

Please comment, this is important.

Thank you.

Am I three months old?

20160628_122856

 

I’ve awoke to something horrible about three months ago, that happened 39 years ago. It’s incredibly difficult to write about, let alone think about. The trauma it induces has no boundaries, it’ll impact my mind at any time it pleases. No, I can’t bring myself to state it publicly yet, to me, this is public.

The fall is a fear, fear that those who are aware, take it less seriously than  I desire. Those who perpetrate may get away with it, and those who survive wait silent years or decades, packing pain tightly away, but the trauma refuses to recognize its fate. It’s a Pandora’s Box opened.

When this trauma is opened, my mind races. The old hamster wheel analogy, or mind storm no longer fits. There’s an urgency, so much needs to be done. There’s anger, even rage, and to those who know it…. I want to relate that rage, let me try. It’s different, and tempered, you wont believe the rage is tempered, but dear reader, my soul cries from an emptiness you don’t know, the survivor knows, but dear kind soul, please try.

My rage at bullies, at those who take, who push and want their way with me, those bullies without boundaries, inflicting harsh words, punches, assaults, power deeds and molesting or rape… My hate for you is unmeasurable, adrenaline filled rage, heated by a thousand suns. I shake with tears, holding in a power that wills you terror.

That dear reader, I wish to be left alone, it’s an homage to the work ahead of me. To assuage that horrific adrenaline will take time. Three months or so in to seeing what I am, was I anyone, will I be anyone, and that’s top on my list. It’s got to be dealt with. And I write, I read, I discuss, and hope. I’m no pillar of strength, if this writing projects it, wait, my insides are tight, the tears barely held. I’m not with a lot of people, few know and those who could be close are long years away and no contact to make. People leave, it’s life, and some pass away. So, in time, maybe there will be a new me? Aging with new steps, new hope.

I don’t want to be alone, but I am in some ways. I’m so needy, I want someone around all the time, not anyone, someone who knows, who gets it, who can be there when that far away look comes. Someone to hold, to care, to love. Oh, that last, such pain, so much pain. Hope is what there is, survivor hope.

 

Note: This is my first ever public writing about this. It makes me sad.