I went to Mount Buffalo, for three nights, a week or 2 before Christmas. I made a youtube video of some of the things I did and thought if I use that to help write this, Explore: Mount Buffalo National Park 1/3my first blog post, it might somehow make it a little less scary. It worked! Having something visual to refer to has helped a whole lot. A whole lotta words spilled out, too many to read in one go so this first post is going to be in three parts.
My blog isn’t going to just be about trauma and PTSD. It will heavily feature my “healing journey”-(hate that term!!) but also, whatever I feel like at the time. I’m going to break my posts down into three categories; Health, Heal and Explore, with some crossover, so I’m giving myself a fair bit of scope. The aim is for this to become a part of my (at the moment, non existent) routine, to use as a kind of tool to help me figure out some things.
I’ve experienced (I never really know quite how to term it) a lot of trauma. The bones of it is I was abused by a family friend when I was a toddler and young child. It affected my brain in a way that I still don’t completely understand and don’t have a succinct way of explaining. That childhood trauma fractured my mind and has resulted in me experiencing dissociative episodes in traumatic incidents since, making me vulnerable to other assaults both as a teen and adult. The most recent happened towards the end of November, in Toronto, in 2015 and I have been working very hard to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. PTSD, some people call it complex PTSD or complex trauma, the term isn’t so important to me, I’m interested in how it works, how it affects the mind and, more specifically, how MY mind works because of it. I wasn’t consciously aware of any abuse or assault until I started remembering some of the childhood stuff a bit over a year and a half ago. I have been doing equine and behavioural therapies since then. A lot has changed in that space of time. When the first realisations flooded in, the wind was completely knocked out of me. The course of my life changed instantly but more than that, I was given a course to follow. For a long time and sometimes still I think; “why me?” Not because I have it worse than others, I don’t, everyone has their incomparable and unique struggles but because I get some kind of kick out of it. I think the “why me?” has been an important part in my self discovery but I see now that the danger of getting stuck there, of that question becoming an internal dialogue, is very real. It took me a while to let go of my victimhood but I think maybe I have now, for the most part anyway, it doesn’t serve much purpose anymore. It doesn’t help to question my life and this world I find myself in, I need to just let it be. What does help now, is questioning myself in an honest search to find a real relationship with me. It’s that relationship, I’m coming to believe, that is critical if I truly want to understand anything.
It has taken me this long to adjust to a new perspective, one that might still always be changing. I have thought, ‘I am ready to start sharing!’ a whole bunch of times before but some part with better judgement stopped me. I am ready now, I needed to learn what being secure within myself really was and that has taken time. It doesn’t mean I am but I am hoping this will help. I had to become open to my perspective changing more and not be afraid to look back and cringe or at least not beat myself up about the silly things I may have written. Because it’s okay to be wrong, I’m learning and so should everybody be.
There are a million things I wanna write about and explore in posts to come. The returned memories interrupted my rigid ideals and belief systems. They managed, somehow, to crack the concrete layers of my dysfunctional, self preserving mechanisms enough for me to get a glimpse of something more worthwhile underneath, something real and true. The glimpse was enough. I’m certain it’s worth a lifetime’s work to break through completely and be able to access whatever that something might be. The terms used within the self improvement field (if that’s even what it’s called) are so cliched and off putting. Words like “journey’, “progress”, “motivation”, “acceptance”, “self-love”, they all grind my gears so terribly. Part of me gets satisfaction out of it. I think in a way my ego thinks I’m better than most people who use them. I hold back and can see how annoying and unhelpful they are for people, but is that just an assumption based off of a reflection of how I feel? When I write it out, I realise that might be the case. Those terms are not meant for people like me. The kind of person whose dysfunction is so wrapped up in who they are, it’s almost impossible to see. The kind of person who gets offended at the very thought they might not quite be 100% genuine. Because everyone likes to think they know themselves right? People can explain their behaviour, they understand it, or can they? Has everyone been left as far out, in the dark, as me?
Since beginning my recovery, since starting to try to make myself a better person and having an understanding of what that actually means, I confuse myself a lot. It’s hard to know whether the me that wants what’s best is driving, or the opposite and it’s definitely not as simple as that. I wish I could place what it was that made memories start coming back, what it was exactly that tapped into that space in my head. During the last incident, I would have fought back if I didn’t black out. I can remember wanting to but not being able to move and then everything going black. I think that might have something to do with it. A part of me knew that nobody deserves to deal with that kind of pain. I think I posted about it on my Instagram once. That afterward a different part of me took over, one that wanted to fill my world with beauty, life, culture, nature, art, music, all the good things. I got home from my travels, having no idea I was raped twice along my way. I went to Thailand for 2 months, was raped and fell pregnant, I guess, but it was an ectopic pregnancy. I didn’t believe my doctor when he told me. I didn’t think it was possible, I couldn’t remember the incident that caused it and I hadn’t been with anyone at all that year. I had returned from Thailand to Australia on May 23 and just felt awful for a month. I got on a plane one month to the day later and left for LA. I got my period on the plane. It was very heavy and blood clotted. I just assumed it was that way because I hadn’t had it for a while. I was due to get my period around the time I was raped but it didn’t come until 7 weeks later. That was that, until the memory of the incident came back and I finally put two and two together. I didn’t die, my tubes are still fine and I didn’t give birth to a, 60 something year old, Thai man’s child. Things worked out the best they could have under the circumstances and I feel lucky for that. Sometimes I think about what might have been, how much worse things could have been so many times. I’m so lucky to be alive, I’m so lucky I didn’t contract any diseases. I’m lucky I wasn’t kidnapped or trafficked. I’m incredibly lucky that I have the family and friends that I do, that accept and love me with my flaws and for who I am. I have always had love and support and good influences around me, even in my party days I was always around people who cared.
I think my reluctance to start sharing has been a way of hiding. I pretend I want to hide from others but it’s definitely myself that I’m most afraid to know. Just writing a few paragraphs, I’m already seeing how jumbled and disorganised my mind is. I should explain that dissociation is a big part of what has made my life and my mind so difficult to successfully talk about. In truth, I don’t completely understand it. My childhood abuse began when I was very young, I don’t remember when specific incidents occurred, necessarily but for some reason I know it began when I was two years old. I can remember going to a black empty space, the inverse of white noise is the best way I have to describe it, like when the tv goes all scribbly, or how it used to, but in reverse, with black being the prominent colour. I really do think putting some of this down is going to help me a lot, with organising my thoughts and becoming more productive in my everyday life. I know I still have many layers of dysfunction to recognise, understand and work through but until recently, I was at a loss for what to do next. I think this is the next step. This and dream exploration.
There’s something about going into the bush, forest, whatever you wanna call it, alone. Something I’m only just beginning to find out about. When I let it, it teaches me things. Or awakens me to things, maybe more accurately, I know it knows way more than I ever will. When I first arrived at the Reservoir (my start point) I was kinda overwhelmed by how beautiful the place was, I hadn’t pictured it in my mind or registered any of the pictures I saw before leaving, aside from a jezebel butterfly. Tired from not sleeping enough the night before and driving 5 plus hours (I didn’t arrive till about 4pm), I just wanted to get to the campsite asap. I took a bunch of snaps of wildflowers along my way, there were SO many. It was a beautiful walk, amplified by the late arvo sun through the trees.
Tent up at Rocky Creek campsite (I was alone!!!!!) and it was perfect, I had a little wash in the creek (100 metres away) and ate dinner. I was a bit pooped. I sat on this big flat rock and then lay on it, knitted on it (I was making a Kris Kringle gift for my friend) and read on it. I had gotten a book about dreams, how to start decoding them and using them to help in waking life. In the last of the light, a whole bunch of kookaburras came to hang, in the trees, above me and I joined in on their chorus of laughter. They seem to show up every time I need a reminder not to take life too seriously but I found out as well as humour, they represent the importance of family. Something I really have gotten to understand and appreciate over this holiday period. I engaged like never before!! There is this overly serious, spiritual whimsicalness that doesn’t really fly with me. Once again, it could be my ego rejecting things but whenever I get little tastes of connectedness or whatever you like to call it, it doesn’t feel serious, there’s no dramatics involved, no calm, breathy, yoga instructor-like voice. It has always been warm, lighthearted and fun, giggly even. Eventually, it got dark and I couldn’t see anymore so I looked at the stars a little, then retired to my tent to escape the mosquitos.