my life is a *trigger warning*
notes on surviving ritual abuse
4 days in the life of a ritual abuse survivor
– drunk days
bad days happen less and less often as i move through my healing journey
these are the days i’m physically and emotionally aching from anxiety, when i struggle to feel that i deserve to live, when i doubt that anyone could ever like me, let alone love me, when i feel hated, as if it would be better if I disappeared, or even better if i’d never been born, if i’d never existed at all.
all the wrongs i’ve done to others, to myself, repeat ceaselessly through my mind. i often find myself half out of my body, dissociated, stuck in my head: my feelings are distant, connected to my body, but not to me. my breathing gets ragged. emotionally, i am somewhere in my past. i am sometimes flooded with memories and body memories of being abused, and i can’t escape. i’m trapped.
each wrong is magnified, distorted, and impossible to forgive. all the good I’ve done – the good man that I am – doesn’t matter, is inconsequential. not only have I done wrong – i am wrong, a living fuck up. maybe I am simply bad. maybe I should kill myself.
(i tried once, when I was seventeen. that was a long time ago.)
that’s a bad day
when i have bad days now, or feel one coming on, i do one, some, or most of the following: pray; affirmations; listen to music; take lorazapam; counselling; walk; concentrate on deep, relaxed breathing; eat (yes, i forget to eat sometimes); drink water; talk to a friend; shake my rattle, concentrate on the sound it makes, and listen to the silence after; shower; nap/sleep; read fantasy or science fiction novels; watch a movie, or favorite tv program; eat pizza and/or nachos.
bad days: drunk days
drunk days start as bad days, or bad times. they don’t happen often anymore.
i feel terrible. i get drunk. i go to sleep. rarely, i feel terrible, i get too drunk, and i spend all my money. i go home. i go to sleep.
good days are so good!
i feel connected to myself, grounded. i feel connected to others, to plants and animals and the natural world. my relationships with all of them are real, tangible and based in mutual respect, trust and love. i have friends. they like me for who i am. they love me.
i am loveable. i am likeable. i am trustworthy, and i can trust others. i am respectful, and deserve respect.
i am in my body – i am my body, and i feel good! it is safe to be in my body. it is safe to be me. i am safe.
i can forgive myself; i can be forgiven. i can forgive myself for the wrongs that i was forced and coerced to do. more importantly, i can forgive myself for the wrongs i did out of selfishness, ignorance, heedlessness, for the wrongs i did because i was raised in a cult and abused so brutally for so long. i can forgive myself; others can forgive me.
i deserve to live. i deserve to live and be happy. i relate to myself, others and the natural world with love, cheerfully, happily, and joyfully.
i don’t think i will ever forgive the adults that raped, tortured and abused me – what they did isn’t forgivable. but i can feel compassion, and i can let go of my rage and hate.
both the internal (in consciousness and emotions) and the external (in institutions, structures, and cultures) revolutions necessary to change the dominant human societies from societies held together by oppression and dehumanization into societies based in respect for the earth, plants, animals, and each other, in justice and dignity for all, in freedom with responsibility, are not only possible, but are happening every day!
grassroots people are going to validate and engage in all forms of liberatory struggle. we will think and act strategically, choosing our tactics accordingly. (it will happen!)
good days are oh so good! i experience them more and more often as i heal.
i oscillate between euphoria, my body pumping out endorphins, telling me that it is pleasant to be in my body, to panicky paranoia where every person i see is a cult member/police officer/hostile person watching me, tracking me, out to get me.
i move fluidly from happy to angry to sad to fearful over the course of a half hour. i forget about having feelings for a day. all is well: i am my body; i like my feelings; i like my body; I like my thoughts; i like my soul; i like myself.
i drink too much coffee. i spend all day organizing. i distrust every new friend. i can’t concentrate. i can’t read. i rage at the voices in my head. i wrestle with anxiety.
i ask out my crush. i have a good counseling session. the sun on my skin reconnects me to the universe, to myself, others and the natural world. i go for a long walk along the rideau river. i pray, and feel my connection with creator, and creator’s love. i clean my apartment. i spend time with friends.
i am tired of healing, sick of it, frustrated with how long it is taking. i don’t want my feelings anymore: they are so awful and scary and dangerous.
i am going to heal faster than anyone else, ever! healing is easy! i’ll be better in a year. i am now a serious adult person who does banking and washes ALL the dishes. i will never drink alcohol ever again.
and so on, and so forth.
patience with myself and others. patience on this healing journey