Monthly Archives: July 2014

Creepy quiet

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I have not one, but two repair people coming to my home today.  This gives me a lot of anxiety.

I think when people think of survivors of sexual assault, they think of people who have anxiety related to walking alone at night, going to nightclubs, excessive drinking at parties, and other situations the victim “shouldn’t have been in” which put her at risk and now cause anxiety.  I can’t say that I feel comfortable walking alone at night because I don’t.  I won’t walk my dogs at night, I don’t like coming home after dark from being out somewhere, and I don’t enjoy complete darkness in my house.  I even have trouble exercising in my own neighborhood during the day when I’m alone because, at times, my mind starts to wonder about my safety.  Thankfully, I am not completely controlled by my level of anxiety and I am still able to get myself to do many of the things which make me anxious.  In addition, in my rental home and now my own home I feel completely comfortable even when I am alone.  I LOVE that feeling because it gives me an enormous “marker” of how far I have come in my healing.

I think what people don’t think about in terms of survivors of sexual assault is that it can affect EVERY single area of life from then on for many survivors, not just those “risky” environments.  I am one of those people.

Going to the regular doctor is horrible for me.  Being “put under” at a doctor or dentist is just an awful feeling.  On one such occasion, I had to reschedule because I just couldn’t manage to calm down enough to have the stupid procedure.  Being on college campuses is not enjoyable for me.  I have trouble in elevators sometimes.  And being in my house alone when repair people have to come in is REALLY difficult for me.

With repair people, I think I felt a bit better when I was married.  Which is strange because I was still alone in the house during the day when repair people would be there.  The way I deal with it now is to make sure I ask a lot of questions about the person before they come out to do the work.  I always expect to know the name of the person who is coming to my house, I do NOT accept a company telling me just the company name and an “I’m not sure who will come out.”  And when that person arrives, they had better have some ID and some personality.  I won’t be keeping you in my house to do whatever it is I’m supposed to pay you to do if you are super creepy.

Since buying my house, I have had to deal with a lot of different people for different house stuff.  Most have been fine and I get through it ok the majority of the time.  Lucky for me, the only guys who kind of gave me the creeps (so far) were here on a day when the best boyfriend in the world (mine) was here, and even though he was supposed to leave to get home for some appointments of his own, he stayed until they left.  I didn’t even have to ask, he just gets me and could see my discomfort.  He absolutely rocks.

The guys were creepy quiet.  I hate that.  If your job requires you to go into the homes of people every single day, please learn how to look at and talk to people so you are not creepy.  One had shifty eyes too.

In any case, I am waiting for 2 separate repair folks to come today.  I hope they aren’t creepy.

Fingers crossed.

KK

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Being me

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I can finally start to really be me!!

After three months and multiple documents, my divorce paperwork finally shows the name I have chosen for myself! It has been a really frustrating three months, but today I got to go to the social security office with my paperwork in hand and ask them to make a SS card with my new name on it. And they processed it without any worry or care about what I want to be called. And I love that!!!

I can completely move forward now, changing my name on my house, my stuff, and at my job. I can’t wait!

Being a new name makes me feel so refreshed and ready for whatever challenges may come next. It’s another new chapter in rediscovering me. I haven’t been using my new name on many things at all so it will take some time to get used to it, but each time I get to write it, say it, or sign it, I will feel proud. I didn’t make the decision on a whim, I thought about it a lot over the 9 months it took for my divorce to be granted. And I’m absolutely sure it was the right decision. I’ll never forget the moment I made the decision and knew it was right. It was an awesome moment.

I can’t wait to wake up and start the workday as the new me. The rediscovered me.

I’m thrilled to be me. Be thrilled today to be you!

KK

Back to business

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I am having a really great summer and I feel awesome about the way things are going in my life. However, I was still THRILLED to get an email from my original therapist that she is coming back from a leave. It was terribly difficult for me when she left because it was during a critical time. The nerve of some people to have a baby when I’m in crisis!!

Beginning therapy is almost like any other life relationship, there is a lot of nerves. I don’t know if I will like the therapist, I don’t know if I can fully trust her, and I don’t know if she will be the right personality to assist me in the ways that best benefit me. The big difference is that clearly these nerves are not reciprocal because I don’t have to worry that I am not supporting her equally or ensuring that I become trustworthy as a personal relationship in her life. Both of us are clear that the focus is on my goals and her expertise.

Finding out that she was leaving was awful because I had come so far, and to imagine starting over is horrifying. Thankfully, it was a temporary leave. And during that time, I had my group and was lucky enough to find a different therapist I liked nearly as much.

Therapy, for me, is refreshing and necessary. I know some people think it’s silly, for the weak, or too uncomfortable because it’s a stranger, but I just don’t feel those things. I really get a perspective there that I can’t get other places. On some level my therapist feels like a friend to me, but I know that’s not really true. And the benefit of that is she doesn’t worry about hurting my feelings. She can tell me in her therapist ways, or at the very least help me see when I’m being destructive to myself or to others. She doesn’t have to worry about whether or not I’ll still want to go out for lunch or to a weekend trip with her because she isn’t really my friend.

I spill my guts to her. Often, that feels like a complete release because I can leave the crazy, or the fear, or the anger in her office and she keeps it for me. She’s not attached to it, so when I return the next time to her office, it’s like she threw those things away for me and they are destroyed forever. I like that. Sometimes spilling my guts feels like a burden because she holds me completely accountable and checks in to see if I’m growing and improving. Friends will let some things go even if they know I’m just ignoring an issue; my therapist will not let me off so easily.

Now, I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I want to say again before going on that I have AWESOME, supportive, loving friends and family. But when I spill my guts to them, it’s different. Cuz…love. And with sexual assault, divorce, hatred, crazy, there is what I like to call residual stuff. So, maybe for some topics that is fear, discomfort, anger, or possibly even things like shame because they have their own stuff or don’t really know what to say or do about mine. And that’s all OK!! It’s just different than therapy where it stays behind if I want it to and doesn’t have to come up again or make anyone uncomfortable.

I have trouble saying this because I don’t always like it — I am a strong person. Sometimes, I think that means people don’t feel I need any help or support. What I’ve learned is that sometimes that phrase “I am strong” has just been my mask of protection. I know people feel that I am strong and independent because they say it. So when I have a major crisis, my brain has turned that into you can’t breakdown or be vulnerable because you are strong. And that isn’t helpful to me at all. It’s created a layer of fake. And that puts distance between me and those people I most admire, respect, and love.

So now it’s back to business starting in August when my therapist returns. I need to focus on rediscovering me some more and making the foundation of me even more stable. Because I am good. I am living mostly without shame now. I am hopeful and excited for the future. I am more me than I’ve been in a long time. I am navigating new love and it’s really scary and really fabulous all at the same time (that’s a whole separate post!).

I can do this. And that’s cool.

KK

Needing Each Other

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I read this post and wanted to share it here because it is a really great read and it says a lot of things that I feel, even though the post is referring to people dealing with childhood trauma and abuse.  It is called Why Survivors Need Each Other

It was posted at an interesting time, since I was just looking for the paper from my group therapy where we all put down our phone numbers and full names for each other.  For 12 weeks I was with these people, trusting them with my most traumatic thoughts and feelings, but I only knew their first names.  That stuck out to me as odd today, but only for a moment.  Their last names were not important in order to know them, but I had never thought about it before today.  I still think of those women often, and gather strength in bad moments from their bravery and their encouragement and their trust in me being able to push forward each day.

I think it is time for me to reach out to one, two, or all of them for a reconnection of sorts.  I miss them.  I miss their smiles and their laughs, their inspiration and their resilience.  I need them.  And the article referenced above says why.  They understand me without much effort and without ANY judgment.  They get it in a way people who aren’t survivors just cannot get inside the anxiety that comes with the traumatic responses I sometimes have in certain situations.  And more than that, I want them to know that I think about them and I still cheer them on each day.  I want to know they are ok and let them know that I am too.

I suppose group therapy for a set amount of time makes sense because if there is no end, it is really an ongoing support group like AA.  Sometimes, I think a support group that kept on going would be better than what I experienced with a group that had a clearly defined beginning and end.  But I also believe that having steps to the group that led up to the disclosure and then wrapping up those defining moments and putting an end to it gives some definition to the assault in terms of now it is in the past and I can heal properly to move forward.  Now I have given the shame and the responsibility over to the criminals and relieved myself of that burden.

I love that I have supportive friends and family. And I love that I now have added these amazing women to my life, who without even being present, support and inspire me every single day.

KK

Witchcrafty Sister

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I have anxiety issues quite often and some would say I have some issues with OCD. I don’t treat these things or discuss them with my medical doctor, just when I have therapy. Quite a few years ago I tried some medication and it made me feel ick, so I won’t take medications for it. If you do, that’s totally fine and I’m glad it works for you, but it just didn’t help me.

My sister is a massage therapist and into the use of what I like to call witchcraft, but is really essential oils. She’s super educated on the whole deal and has been trying to poison me for years with stuff that I refused to try. Until now.

Within the last year, I have developed some issues that no medical doctor can seem to solve and which were drastically reducing my quality of life. I don’t like to take medication and I wasn’t taking great care of myself at the time so I just accepted that the issues were here to stay.

After a lot of time went by I finally started to ask my sister if she had oils to fix the issues because I was kind of miserable. She did have some things that I started using but because I’m an impatient, instant gratification kind of girl, I assumed they weren’t working after not much time. Now, to some degree that’s true because I was taking the one oil religiously and still miserable. Around this same time I went back to my doctor and she suggested I may need to do a better job of drinking less and eating healthier. Kind of rude, yes? Hahaha.

I have quite drastically changed my diet and eliminated coffee almost completely. Those things have helped. Eliminating the coffee makes me feel a LOT less crazy anxious than I used to be most days.

Also, I have continued the witchcraft, this time asking more questions and monitoring it more closely. And I think that shit works! I’m a believer. I don’t go anywhere without a bunch of witchcraft on my person.

So thank you, my awesome sister, for forcing your witchcraft on me. And also for being smart, supportive, and encouraging throughout my life and most especially the last few years when I needed your witchy self the most. I love you!!!

KK