Saturday 9th October
Doing this healing journey without prescription antidepressants is hard. Harder than I ever thought.
I kinda wish I’d never started them although I know why I did. Back then I thought that there was something, one thing, that would take all of this away. I remember asking the doctor to make it stop, antidepressants were her answer. I didn’t know then the price I would have to pay. The price of delayed reaction, the price of problems not being solved, the price of saving the stuff you thought was solved, for later.
The desperation that I felt then I can feel increasingly now. I’ve had some time and experience to think about it and I think that part of the desperation comes from feeling so ill but not having a scratch on me. Feeling as though I should be in hospital and knowing that no x-ray or blood test would reveal a real and visible ailment.
Inside me I know that’s why I set up Healing School and Reluctant Heroines, so victims would have a place to go where the unseen sickness that was never theirs, is seen and held. Where we, the one’s trying to survive, can be safe and seen in this invisible and life-changing confusion.
I’ve been re-reading, Peter Lavine’s Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving. It’s not an easy read, some of the wording is unnecessary and at times it is highly triggering. When you think that humans in the depths of CPTSD are trying to use this book as an anchor or a guiding star during some of the worst storms, in my opinion, it could do with being more human and less “look how clever I am”. In spite of this, it held for me some gems that I rediscovered.
Crying as a means to grieve,
Crying as a means to an explosion of anger,
Crying because it’s overwhelming and frustrating.
Crying because we’ve had enough and we don’t know if we can handle much more.
How free do you feel to cry? How many tears have you stuffed down in order to “get on with it” (it being whatever thing is in front of you that holds up normality) Just this morning I couldn’t stand the look of the person in the mirror, I felt a huge sense of hatred and disconnection from the woman looking back at me and I didn’t recognise her as me. I felt the prickle of tears and stuffed them down with an internal dialogue of “you’ve just put on your makeup”.
All things considered, since moving out of anger, I haven’t cried that much. But when I think about it I’ve got a lot to cry about. Do you know what I want to do? I want to spend the next spance of time, crying.
I want to wail and blub, I want to be ugly with it, I want to purge. I want to mourn with all of my tears everything that they did, everything that has and continues to be taken from me because of what happened. I want to cry about how out of control my life feels especially when I see the posts on Instagram saying “that no one is coming to save me”, I didn’t do this to myself, why should I be in charge of mending it? I want to cry about the unfairness, I want to cry for my sisters who come to me and say that they never asked for this. I want to cry because although we are not the ones who committed this, we are the ones who pay. I want to cry because it’s not fair, I want to cry for the way we were shaped and used by a generation that should have known better, a generation that dehumanised everybody except the wealthy and rich. I want to cry because so many of us were treated as a thing with no heartbeat, no thoughts, no love, no kindness. A thing to be used and taken from. A thing to brought out when the time suited them and then left like we are replaceable and expendable. A thing of instant gratification for the “one”.
Mixed up in my tears are anger. And that’s been rearing its head up to, in the shape of screaming out loud to those voices inside that repeat abuse back to me over and over again. Peter Lavine says it’s good for me! He calls it angering. Angering is when instead of internalising the nasty voices in our heads, scientifically called Inner Critic, we outwardly direct them to the abusers’ voice in which we have internalised. In my case, it’s M’s voice that I hear. I screamed “FCUK OFF” to them while I was in the shower this morning. “JUST FCUK OFF”. There was also a barrage of screaming abuse this afternoon which made my poor old dog hide for an hour.
Side note: I think I might need a cross between an emotional support dog and a ferrous scary AF guard dog when my old gal dies.
Of course, this kind of healing requires a safe space to do it in. What would our children, partners, husbands, wives, flatmates, parents think if they saw and heard our screams and saw our endlessly flowing tears? Would they think we are the mad ones? Would they think we needed antidepressants?
It brings me back to why I started Reluctant Heroines. I want to create that space for women who need this healing. I hope that one day I’ll be able to open a retreat for victims and survivors where we are not the mad ones and not sushed and quietened with medication being the first answer to relieving this invisible pain.
Today I promise to give myself that. Today I hold a dim but protected flame that someday soon I will be able to give that to you too.