Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Step 3

Having trouble with the writing part... obviously. It is still so much easier to hide. The other things are getting better... working hard at it.
The writing might take a bit more discipline and courage.
Vulnerability sucks.
So does trying to look at things I still find ugly and embarrassing.

The last couple of weeks have been interesting. It's as if some of the fog over portions of my life is lifting. Specifically the period between September 1998 and the beginning of blogging in 2002.
Not sure yet how much of this I want to detail... but I've tried and run away many times over the years. At some point, it would make sense to suck it up and deal.
My paper journal is full of scribbled bits... the first time I've been able to put much of that time and others in chronological order.
May as well put it to print, even if it won't make sense to anyone but me for now.

It's hard to think about switching as a toddler but I can remember times as young as 3 when I heard others and even talked to them.
I can truly remember, for the first time, the moments when I split at 5, 8, 9, 13, 15 and 21 years old.
I put up a wall between myself and the others at 21 and it stayed strong for most of 7 years. There were periods of the blackest depressions when the voices would break through and I'd do and say things beyond my control... but I always fought it back.
Looking back, Charlie and I both agree I dealt with post-partum depression... the worst being after Daniel and John. Before John was a year old, the remaining defenses I held were crumbling.
Moments of hearing voices... the kinds of voices usually reserved for the truly delusional, had me terrified. These weren't the internal voices I'd heard for most of my life.. but the ones that seemed to come from next to me or from other rooms. I was certain I was finally losing my sanity.
I've written before about what brought me to meeting with some people at church and won't do that tonight. It's been posted and reposted... I don't have the energy to do it again.

The first time we met at the church in early November 1998, I went into great detail about my past history... my years in and out of hospitals, the various spiritual battles we'd gone through, the depths of the current depression. I told them of the eating disorders, my current inability to eat and my decent again into self-injury. I had a plum sized burn on my arm I'd been concealing for days but couldn't bring myself to tell them about it.
(I've deleted my vox account and can't remember if what I'd posted there included an account of this first meeting)
We talked for an hour and decided to pray. I can remember feeling every muscle in my body tense and quivering by this time. I felt like an explosion waiting to happen and tried curling into myself to prevent it. In the end, all it took was Pastor R reaching out his hand to mine.
I can remember now flying out of the chair and bolting to a corner of the sanctuary, curling up in a ball on the floor... arms wrapped around my knees. The sound coming from my own lips was almost animalistic and the terror I felt beyond words.
Pastor R came over and tried to reassure me of the safety of the place. In my head, all I could hear was the moaning of someone terrified and cornered. I see it all now without the same detachment I've felt before when trying to bring this day to memory. For the first time I feel the same things she felt. (I'm still not sure who it was... though I think it was Petra.) Not with the same intensity... I can still sit here and type despite the urge to close this window and go to bed. I can still pause to have a conversation with one of the kids, though not with the enthusiasm I'd prefer. I can still breathe. That's always a good thing.
It took a few minutes of convincing, but I somehow managed to reach out my hand to Pastor. R and allow him to help me to stand. It still wasn't me but by that time Reese, Stephanie and at least one other were fighting past the wall to awareness.
We walked the perimeter of the sanctuary, while Pastor R spoke gentle words of assurance and promises of safety.
I think safety is what set it off. I remember the sharp pain in my arm as I slammed it into the corner of a support beam as many times as I could before being pulled away. The rage was unbelievable and I think I wanted to kill him for daring to suggest something as laughable and unrealistic as safety. How could anyone keep me safe when the very danger was a part of me?
I know I fought him. I know he tried to restrain me and I tried to get my hands around his throat.
He did the only thing he knew to do. He prayed against the demon he thought was at work... and came face to face with Stephanie.
I have to admit, all these years later, I still consider this one of her finest moments.
Stephanie was always the bad girl... the miscreant... delinquent... anarchist and had been on several prior occasions a very convincing portrayal of the demonic. I now know she chose this moment to challenge that belief because "it was time to stop playing fucking games" and dare someone to care enough to see what and who was before them.
She pulled away from him, and remaining in a crouch, growled at Pastor R..."Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, was crucified, buried and on the third day rose again. He lives at the right hand of God and if you call me a demon one more time I will rip your fucking head off and shove it down your fucking neck!"
She was always good at inspiring speechlessness in others...
What followed was a tirade of "you don't know, you don't understand, you can't promise to care, you're just another liar and why don't you just back the fuck off before you hurt her."
When she'd yelled herself out and grown tired of the continued looks of shock and confusion she let go and allowed me to claw my way back out in a torrent of "I'msorryI'mSorryI'msorry."

heh.

I meant to list, not detail. This was just the top of the list.

I finally found my way back to my chair and didn't object when Pastor R, Pat and M (who had sat helplessly by all this time) scooted a little closer to me. I think "you see why I say I'm hopelessly screwed up?" was part of the conversation. I know I did finally tell them about the burn (Pulling up my sleeve to show them was another challenge to their willingness to get involved) and asked them to help me admit it to Charlie.

By the time we'd finished that first meeting, 3 hours had passed and I left to make one of my frequent blind drives home and crawled into bed.

I talked often with each of the three people there that day but we didn't meet again as a group until January... when Pastor R could schedule back-up in the event the shit hit the fan again.

It did... but will have to be shared later.
This is enough for one night.