This doctor is looking for a way to help sexual abuse survivors who don’t want a pap test to do their own tests. http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/reprint/162/5/666.pdf
I haven’t seen my therapist in about a month and will be seeing her this afternoon. I’ve been seeing her for about a year, first weekly then biweekly, since soon after I found out about my dad/abuser’s cancer recurrence and had a strong emotional reaction.
She’s pretty good and I like her and I fairly often do some deep work with her, which is usually a good sign. However, I started healing 20 years ago. (I haven’t been in therapy that whole time, and there’s been several long breaks, including one of at least 12 years in there), and I’d like to have an idea of what it is I’m trying to get accomplished, so I can get it done. I don’t want to be spending so much money on this. My older brother’s voice echoes in my head. What a jerk he is, like he’s any more healed than I am if he’s reacting so strongly to me.
I’m thinking of tapering off to about once a month, or quitting completely and putting the money into say, a reiki session or massage once a week instead. Part of me suspects that this is just me feeling abandoned that she took a few weeks off over Christmas and so feeling a bit betrayed and dumping her. I had a hard Christmas this year, harder than I expected and I needed her. I had some mother grief going on. My mom sent me a card with a cheque saying ‘it’s been so long, I hope we can get together soon’ as if nothing had happened and it should have all blown over. I just want a damn letter from her saying something real. My therapist said I could call her if I needed to, but really I’d never do that unless my father died or something equally major.
I saw my younger brother just before Christmas, which was nice, but I’m pretty sure he’s mad at me for not giving gifts to my mother this year or seeing her, which increases the care-taking burden on him. (I did a donation to the food bank and a local group that helps incest survivors in lieu of gifts to family) I was planning to give him a gift, but he didn’t come by as expected to exchange them. I expect he may be taking her side. He doesn’t know about my finding the scar tissue. There’s no easy way to tell your brother that your vagina got ripped as a child by your father and that your mother would have to be extremely negligent to never notice a serious wound like that in a daughter she bathed regularly. Bullshit she didn’t know.
Over the holidays I woke up from a dream where I had birthed a baby on my own and had been nursing her. The nursing sensation was so real-seeming that it made me wonder if it was a memory. I suppose it’s possible I could have birthed a baby and not remember somehow if the dissociation was severe enough. I remembered in my medical report from that exam I had (that I wrote about in this blog) that my ‘os’ was tight, which according to the internet means I’ve never had a pregnancy, so that settles it. The rips were not from childbearing, they were from being raped when I was tiny. How crazy is post traumatic memory that I can’t even know for certain without checking that I’ve never been pregnant? How good of my practitioner to write that in my chart for me as confirmation and then send me a copy.
I’m nervous about my first session at the fitness club I signed up for. I go for my orientation tomorrow after work. They do a kind of boxing circuit training, and I’m worried I’ll end up crying. I may just tell the trainer that I was attacked so I may get emotional while exercising, and would she do me a favour and please just ignore it? I’ll see how she is and how I feel.
I started taking passionflower, which is an herbal antianxiety thing that Dr Oz, the tv doctor from Oprah said had been shown to be as effective as prescription antianxiety meds. I took it before going to a stressful meeting yesterday, and I think it actually helped. I don’t feel particularly sedated, which is good, but perhaps a little more sleepy. I’m not taking it today, and am ambivalent about the whole thing, but I thought maybe if the anxiety didn’t get in my way so much I could do some of the things I want to like singing and taking lessons and such,a nd then when I was used to doing them, I wouldn’t be so anxious.
I feel teary, which I often do on a day that therapy is scheduled, and was a bit yesterday too. It could be a bit of a hangover from the meeting yesterday. Intense people-stuff does tend to fry my circuits a bit, which I understand as being part of being a bit more sensitive than regular folks
Anyhow, I feel a bit guilty not writing the more interesting and inspiring stuff I used to write, but honestly, I don’t have it in me right now. May that change.
Blessings to you all (or at least most of you).
A friend of mine sent me this video link and I loved it. Music with a hopeful topic, presented in a playful way. A pick me up. Made me cry a little, but just because sometimes beauty overwhelms me.
Okay it says let it go this too shall pass, but I interpret that in my own way – in the way Ido when I’m in the middle of a flashback and I tell my self – “It’s okay, you’re safe now. I’m sorry that happened. He can’t hurt you now.” and just feeling the feelings that need to be witnessed until they pass. That’s letting go, survivor style I think.
Here is a sports medicine journal article which is the only one I found about survivors and issues with exercise. There was another one that said that about half of the survivors surveyed had found physical exercise to be a helpful healing strategy. I’d have to say that it fits for me. I feel like I’ll fail, generally, at whatever physical exercise I do if it’s at all taxing. Partner dance seems to be an exception for me. I think it’s the slower pace initially and the social part of it (someone is there to do it with the whole time) that makes it easier.
Relationship of Sexual Abuse to Motivation for Strenuous Exercise
Hesdon B, Salmon P
J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2003;43:213-219
Aim: Sources of motivation for intense physical exercise are poorly understood. Based on views that link such behaviour to preexisting psychopathology, we tested the hypotheses that history of childhood sexual abuse would be greater in intense exercisers than in non-exercisers, and that effects of abuse on self-esteem, perfectionism and body dissatisfaction would help to explain any link between abuse and exercise.
Methods: Consecutive attenders at two types of exercise were recruited: weight training and running. Sedentary attenders at a further education college provided a third, comparison group. Each group contained 64 men and 64 women. Participants completed questionnaires to record history of sexual and physical abuse in childhood and adulthood, body dissatisfaction, self-esteem, and positive and negative perfectionism.
Results: Adult, but not childhood abuse, was reported by more weight-trainers than others. Abused individuals were more anxious and depressed, were more negative about themselves and were more concerned with avoiding failure in general. Women abused in childhood were more concerned with avoiding failure at exercise in particular.
Conclusion: These results suggest hypotheses that link adult abuse to intense weight training habits and, in women, that link child abuse to feelings of failure in exercise.
I just did a rather mild exercise session to an online video: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/you-diet-beginners-workout I didn’t make it through without crying. I think I stopped half way, doing the floor exercises.
It seemed to be the ‘holding on’ part of the exercise that got me. The part where you’re in mild discomfort from laying down and doing situps or holding your arms out or whatever, and waiting for them to finish the damn count down from 10 to one. Thank Goddess the instructor didn’t do the countdown more than once for each exercise. I hate it when they count down to one and then start again from ten. It’s a nasty trick.
This is what is inconvenient about being a survivor – bursting into tears during workouts and feeling embarrassed about it. If I could announce somehow. “I’m a sexual assault survivor. While exercising, I might start crying, and if I do I’ll feel better if I just go with it and cry openly till I’m done. I may need to sob a bit. No need to worry, I’ll take care of myself. Please ignore me and go on with your routine. You help me best by just realizing this is normal and I need to do it my way.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were fitness classes for survivors? Ones with no counting, soothing music and a kleenex box, punching bag and stuffed animals in the corner? Where everyone knew you were a survivor and you didn’t have to disclose, just get on with it?
If we really valued survivors, we would have those things.
I’m thinking about scaling back my therapy schedule from once every two weeks to once a month. It’s been over a year now since I found out my father/abuser had a severe cancer recurrence, and apparently he’s once again dodging the bullet. Apparently even the afterlife doesn’t want anything to do with him. Why prepare endlessly for something that doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon?
I need to decide once and for all if I want to put in the enormous effort to try and get it established legally that he raped me as a child. It would allow me to be a spokesperson to raise visibility about the need to report suspected child abuse. I haven’t talked to the lawyer I picked out to talk to about my options for getting it an established fact that he abused me. If I could do it in writing I think I would, but having to deal with a real person and their reactions to my story is intimidating and exhausting. Perhaps I wouldn’t even have to do that much. I could just start accusing him publicly, and if he tries to sue me about it, game on. However, I’d feel safer to get a legal opinion first. It’s hard to get up the momentum to do this kind of thing. It took me months if not longer to work up to getting a pap test, and this is worse I think.
It does make me angry that he’s gotten away with it. So he lost his wife, eventually, over it. So his family knows. So his mother died knowing her son rapes kids. So the police in his town know he’s a molester. So what? He lives his peaceful life in the home I grew up and was abused in, and feels sorry for himself no doubt. He even has a girlfriend. How low must her self esteem be to put up with him? She’s apparently an immigrant woman of colour. He’s racist – so how sick is that?
I bought a membership to a gym that does kick-boxing circuit training. I think that staying in my aggression while exercising will keep me from freaking out. I haven’t gone yet. Maybe doing a little kicking and punching will build up my momentum and reduce my fear.