Workin it out


Not much makes me feel more awesome than a good workout. I love a variety of workouts, but these days I spend most of my time in Body Combat, Butts & Guts, and working with a personal trainer. I also love me some Turbo Fire and Taebo.

Having some sleeping issues lately. I’ve got worries. Not a ton of worries like I used to, but stuff keeping my mind too busy to relax. The more I workout, the more I’m too tired to stay up all night. So that’s a benefit, in addition to the fact that I feel healthier, I’m losing some inches and fat, and gaining some strength and muscle.

What I thought today while working out is…it’s the same as my healing. It’s just me and my mind and my body that have to get through it. My trainer doesn’t ultimately care if I meet my goals. Meeting those goals is on me. Just like healing. I still go to therapy and I completed some groups and those things are terrific. I have awesomely supportive people in my life. But none of that is any good if I don’t work on my mind and my body to push through the memories and the muscle tension and the moments when I completely shut down.

I made the decision a few years ago that sexual assault would no longer rule my mind and my body and that I would make big changes that honored who I am. I’m so proud of the big changes I’ve made and the new patterns I’ve created for myself. But I get lazy. Just like sometimes I don’t wanna workout, so I make excuses. I guess the main thing is that I always come back to the hard work. I keep plugging along, workin it out.

I can do it. But it is hard sometimes, you know? Really hard.

I took a big risk this year by asking to be 1 of 5 survivors picked to talk publicly about our healing journeys at an event in April 2018. And I got picked! I’m so excited!! But also terrified. I need it. Somehow when I attended the event this year I just knew that I needed to do it. I have been a spectator at the event the last three years. It is powerful and awesome. And I decided while sitting there this year that it’s exactly what I need to push through the last step in my healing journey. Sure, I’ll always have some work to do to stay on track, just like going to the gym. But this goal will keep me from being lazy.

I gotta keep workin it out. To be me. At the gym and for this event and for the rest of my healing life.



Maybe it is all me


I read a Facebook post once that was called You’re Allowed to Leave and it had many statements in it that I really value.  Statements that have been so important to the last 6-8 years of my life.

Statements like

  1. “You’re allowed to leave someone you love if they’re treating you poorly, you’re allowed to put yourself first if you’re settling and you’re allowed to walk away when you’ve tried over and over again but nothing has changed.”
  2. “We sometimes look at leaving as a bad thing or associate it with giving up or quitting, but sometimes leaving is the best thing you can do for yourself.”
  3. “Leaving allows you to change directions, to start over, to rediscover yourself and the world. Leaving sometimes saves you from staying stuck in the wrong place with the wrong people.”
  4. “Leaving opens a new door for change, growth, opportunities and redemption.”

And it made me miss writing and paying attention to the blogs I follow.  I need to remember those things more often to stay present in my life.  To remember how far I’ve come in rediscovering myself and growing.  To remember that it’s ok to change, it’s ok to ask for change, and that where I am now is so much better than feeling like I am to blame and I am broken.  So much better then believing that my ex was right in saying “maybe it IS all you” when I commented that he wasn’t taking marriage counseling seriously because he was just waiting to hear that it was all my fault.

I can always tell when I’m getting complacent with my mental health.  Because I start to think about all the things I decided I would do when I left my marriage, some of which I didn’t do.  And in every conflict I feel like “yep, it really IS all me.”

I know that’s not true, don’t I?  But I go right back to it when things go wrong.  And then I wind up here, where I start thinking that it MUST be true, it is me who is not capable of healthy relationships.

And then I remember it’s ok to protect myself first.  To love myself first.  To remind myself of my value.

And that still feels great.  I really do know that I am not to blame for everything and that I am not broken.  I know that I own my feelings–as a victim, a survivor, a mother, a friend, a coworker, a girlfriend, and all other things I identify as in life.

I have written lots in the last couple years, but published none of it to this blog because I started to want to hide again. Not because I’m unhappy, not at all. I just started to wonder if I needed it.

I do. Not for recognition, but validation. And accountability. If I publish the things I think, then they feel real and I read them again and again when I need each reminder.

And because guess what? I am doing some really awesome things in my life.

I’m in a relationship that I value deeply and when we go through tough stuff, I know that we will get through it together. Not because I feel like I have to, but because I want to.

I am good at my job and I like it. I feel valuable and I love the people I work with and the people I serve in my role.

I’m still in therapy. I need it like some people need meds. It’s what makes me process and understand things without just laughing everything off and never being vulnerable.

I’m getting my body healthy. I took my body down with stress. I saw a naturopathic doctor and it changed my life. She looked at me as a whole and found ways that I could become healthy and not struggle with the same things and just be given med after different med. and I work with a personal trainer. I’ve lost inches, gained muscle, lost fat, lost weight, gained weight, and I feel like I finally found a way to be happy in my body. Not every single day, but most.

When you’re a survivor, you can sometimes despise your body. It’s a struggle for me. But I’m so close to putting that struggle behind me, and so I took a huge leap this year and said “pick me.” And they did. (I’ll probably tell ya, don’t worry.)

All those things happening in my life? I made those things happen. I am making those things happen every day. And that really IS all me. That’s a good thing now instead of being a phrase that felt so negative to me.

If I had never left, I wouldn’t know the many things I know today. And that too really IS all me. I left. I own that. I needed that.

And I’m ok.


Online support can be weird, but also awesome


I started a therapy group online today.  I think it will be kind of cool.  I’m hopeful it will be kind of the last piece of the puzzle for me.  

Online support can feel kind of weird and I have experienced this now in both individual and a group setting.  My online therapy session with my past therapist was pretty comfortable right from the start because we knew each other so well anyway.  This session today was a bit unsettling at first.  I heard the ring of the video call and kind of froze before accepting the call.  All at once I’m looking at 5 people I have never seen before and I have to just trust them.  It’s a strange thing indeed. 

We did short introductions and then proceeded with the group and I really relaxed into it.  It is a little awkward at first because when the facilitator asks a question you have to kind of wait to see if someone will jump in so we are not all trying to talk at once.  But the group is small so it works out quite well. 

After each session we will get an email and information for reading and reflecting.  It’s optional, but will move us into the next session discussion so I’m willing to do that work as well.  I used to have a difficult time being alone with myself while reflecting on issues of sexual assault and what I need to move on safely.  And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually look forward to it now. 

I haven’t decided if I can or will share any topics of this group, but it is really looking like it will be valuable to me and I’m really excited about the information to be covered.

The world is changing and we rely heavily on technology.  After attending group therapy, I had a discussion with someone about attending groups via Skype.  We agreed at that time it wouldn’t really be a great way to connect with people.  But after only one session of this online group, I’m not so sure.  

I’ll say more as the group goes on. 


New memories, new struggles


It has been awhile since I have published something.  I have written, but the things I’m uncovering and discovering are too soaked in shame to share right now.  I hope I can move past that eventually, but for now I’m just smiling through each day.  Bringing out the inappropriate laughter to cope and sticking close to the people who, without question, believe me and strengthen me.  I’m struggling, but I will survive this too. 

This quote from an article I read today rings so true for me–“”I think of my life then as a performance art act, because I performed as though everything was fine, but when I could, I became very reclusive,” she said.”  The article can be found here: I Will Find You

I like to be alone.  I need to be alone sometimes.  And I can always tell when I’m not taking enough time for that because I start to feel super anxious.  Like every single day I have to work extra hard not to just throw some shit in my car and go.  Far.  Or hop a plane.  I better plan an alone trip soon. 

In therapy recently I’ve been tackling some pretty giant stuff.  Stuff I didn’t realize was so big and so paralyzing.  I was doing an EMDR session when some memories came up that stopped me in my tracks.  I had buried this and that and went on with life like those things didn’t matter.  Boy do they matter.  A lot. 

With the new memories, some new struggles are popping up.  Because in some areas of communication and coping and loving, I’ve really come far.  And in some areas, I feel I’ve only just begun.  I completely shut down sometimes.  More lately.  And it sucks because even when I recognize it happening, I can’t stop it.  And then I shame myself for it.  Sigh…so sick of that cycle. 

My boyfriend asks me sometimes if I’ll go to therapy forever.  I’m not always sure how to answer that.  I might have to, which is ok.  I might not have to, and that’s ok too.  Sometimes, I just want to, because it’s a really great feeling to evaluate or work through an issue with someone who isn’t personally connected to me or the issue.  And my therapy needs are definitely decreasing with him by my side.  When I’m able to open up and talk to him, his reaction is always spot on and supportive.  I know without question he has my back.  I love that. 

It doesn’t hurt that I have terrific insurance right now too.  I don’t live near The Healing Center anymore, so no free therapy for me.  Gosh I miss that place and those people.  Leaving it behind was the most difficult part of my decision to move.  Once or twice I have felt I have to go back, but I’m pretty certain I’m where I need to be right now. 

New memories can’t keep coming, I’m almost to the end of what I buried from the assault and years of emotionally abusive relationships.  The awesome part is that most days, my life is so happy and full of greatness, that all this stuff itself is merely a memory.  A small blip on the radar of my mind. 

So come on memories, feel free to keep coming out and after my brief struggles, be prepared to be put away for good. 


EMDR success


Wow.  My first session of EMDR with my new therapist was fantastic.  Intense and exhausting, but really interesting.  And successful. 

She had a process that was quite a bit different than the ways I have done it before with other therapists.  So if you’ve tried it or are thinking about it, ask about how it’s done.  Of course, I’m not sure I could have chosen one that I liked the best until doing them all. 

I picked a target, a memory/moment that really affects me.  The further back, the better since it can be connected to the newer memories.  For me, my targets this time will be memories with the guy from high school and some major moments in my marriage that contribute to my struggles with not feeling good enough, not being worthy of healthy, equal, and supportive love.  

She had me sit forward on my chair which was new for me.  She talked about how this position engages the core and why that is important.  It really did make a big difference from sitting relaxed. 

Once I had my target for the session and I was sitting forward, we talked about the negative feelings and beliefs connected to it.  She had me focus on different areas of the room and think about the negative memory.  This was amazing because that memory was more or less horrible depending on where I focused my eyes.  One area is normally the “worst” for a person and it was clear which area this memory was stuck.  So that becomes my area of focus.  

So I’ve got my target and I’ve got my area I will be focusing my eyes.  Now I’ve got headphones on which will be on for periods of time while I focus my eyes and think about the memory.  The headphones vary, some therapists use tones and this was a combination of music and tones.  It was really good. 

People get hung up here thinking they will have to voice details of horrible memories and that’s the greatest part about EMDR.  I never said a word.  Just focused my eyes and thought about it.  I’m told to think about how it makes me feel, think about how my body is feeling while thinking about it, and just let it happen.  

I’m sure the experience is different for everyone, but for me this was a very powerful session.  Quick too.  As I thought about it, I had a lot of physical symptoms and some that I don’t mind sharing.  With this specific moment/memory, I got hot in my chest and physically shook.  Then I felt this heavy weight and the strangest pain in my knees.  And as we worked through the negative, she starts to ask what “that girl” needs.  

That’s when I realized right where The Girl in the Corner came from…that exact moment.  I could see it so clearly as the very moment I started to accept abuse.  I fought through the urge to stop and go home and we decided what the girl needed.  I breathed in those things that were needed and exhaled the ick.  Specific words were exhaled.  Specific words inhaled.  And the pain moved up and out my body.  I could feel it. 

Powerful, awesome things happened for me.  I lost the view of the room even though my eyes remained opened and focused on my spot.  It was dark around me and I released and released that moment and that weight like the loud, single clap of hands. 

Woah.  It was really crazy. 

To end a session of EMDR, you always want to try and be relaxed.  As relaxed as possible anyway.  And I felt exhausted.  She reminded me that my brain would continue to process and that I would likely be very tired.  I was.  I still am. 

We checked in with that memory, and I was ok.  Thinking about it now, I experience none of those negative physical symptoms. 


Goodbye traumatic moment.  I will not miss you hurting me. 

I cannot wait to go back and work with the other targets I will choose.  Really excited for this final stage of my healing. 

I AM good enough. 




You know what’s no fun?  Triggers.  

I don’t know when they will happen.  I don’t understand what sets them off.  

I can’t sleep tonight.  I have a lot of anxiety.  I don’t know what set me off, but I keep feeling like I can’t breathe.  And my legs just feel active.  I have been listening to the rain for awhile and I started thinking about why storms used to bother me.  I was terrified of them.  But then one day after I adopted my first beagle I just got over it because I felt so badly for him as he would sit and shake from a storm.  Maybe comforting him comforted me.  I don’t know.  But once I got him, storms never bothered me again.  

I don’t know where that fear came from and one day recently I even found myself looking up the weather from the day of my college rape.  I had to walk home from that by myself and it was a bit of a walk.  I remember feeling cold, so I started to wonder if it was raining.  It was 1993.  But I was able to look up the weather from that day online…no rain.  

In any case, maybe it isn’t the rain triggering me, but I feel uneasy and it’s no fun. 

I don’t like elevators.  I used to wonder why the heck I was so nervous in elevators.  And then I had my first EMDR sessions.  And elevators came up because I had to share an elevator with the guys who assaulted me the day of the pretrial.  Is that ridiculous or what???  What kind of crappy victim witness plan, or lack thereof, was that?  I can see the moment clearly.  Thinking about it doesn’t bother me now, but elevators still do sometimes.  I think it’s the kind of elevator.  The heaviness of the door.  The way it sounds when it closes.  Gosh, I never thought about it in such detail before now. 

The month of March triggers me.  That’s not shocking since it is the month of the college rape, but you’d think that just once March could roll by and I wouldn’t feel like a mess most of the time.  Oh well, that’s a work in progress I guess.  I take care of myself the best that I can and I make sure to protect myself.  I make plans that will keep me from just sitting in the negativity of the day.  If I sit around, I start to think about what I was doing each minute of that day and it drives me nearly insane. 

Elevators, rain, March. Strange. 

What are your triggers?


EMDR: round 2


I’ve committed to doing some EMDR again.  And the first session is Wednesday.  I’m nervous.  Because I can’t stop myself from feeling like I do it wrong.  

That’s ridiculous, of course, you can’t really do it wrong, but that is how I feel. 

I told this therapist up front that I need to be pushed so I don’t avoid things.  Why did I say that??  It’s true, and I’m mostly glad I told her so that I don’t avoid things and not face the things I most need to work through this time.

It’s mucking up my whole week though because I’m nervous and so my body is responding poorly to everything I do that is not laying in bed.  I know I’ll get through it, and I’m hoping it will go really well. 

Therapy this time is really different.  I was better prepared up front to say why I am there and what I like and don’t like.  Being able to voice what my biggest challenges are as a person feels really good.  It marks growth and I’m loving that.  I think this time I’m better equipped to work on what is still stuck.  Especially because I can tell in my daily life what is certainly not stuck anymore.  

I had zero physical reaction to talking about some things in our introductory 2 weeks.  I was thankful for that, if a bit surprised.  Zero shaking, zero temperature change, zero inappropriate laughter!  A miracle.  Hahaha, not really, just a fabulous confirmation of how far I have come.  

The Girl in the Corner.  She’s still suffering some.  Not just from my past with the abuse, but also from my marriage and divorce.  I am sick of thinking of past abuse from high school and I am sick of thinking about that guy who walked out on me.  He’s so not worth the head space.  So I was absolutely thrilled that when I did discuss that, I had none of the physical reactions I use to have and I was able to put the blame for what he did squarely where it belongs…on him.

What bothers me now is that the abandonment seems to have transferred to my ex and in talking about him and how checked out he is from me and our child, the physical symptoms were all there.  One of the hardest parts of that is just the shock.  I didn’t expect it.  Not at all.  We were very amicably separated and even amicably divorced for quite a while.  We remained as a parenting team well into my new relationship.  I could still confide in him about parenting issues and get his input on stuff and that is just gone.  And I don’t get it.  Our state forces a parenting class on people getting divorced.  It’s good.  They make it quite clear that “divorce ends a marriage, not a family.”  But not for us.  He’s just done. 

And that makes me angry.  Bitter, as I said recently. 

Why in the hell does he not recognize what his absence is doing to our child?  

The anger makes me want to forget all the good years we had, but I won’t.  I will continue to tell my kids the good memories and the fun we had as a family.  If he wants to live like none of that ever happened, like we never should have been together, well that’s his right.  But it’s a disgusting disservice to our children.  And I guess it means it shouldn’t be any surprise to me then how they feel. 

I am really nervous about how therapy will go and how the EMDR can help me work through all that, but I know if I trust the process, it’ll happen.  And I’m so happy to be pushing myself into this round of hard work because I am ready to put my ex in the same area that the other stuff went as I worked through it all.  I’m looking forward to not being so angry about him because he doesn’t even deserve the angry energy I’m giving him. 

He won’t ever get it.  He doesn’t even want to try and understand. 

And my kids will still be ok.  I have had some of the greatest conversations with my kids in the last few years.  Ones where we can be completely honest and sad or angry and still end up being so glad to have a hug and say I love you.  Conversations where we really hear each other, everyone’s opinions and feelings are respected, and we grow together to have a stronger bond. 

EMDR is so different between therapists.  And even though I’m really nervous, I’m excited to see how this therapist will work with me through the process.