Archive for the 'YouTube' Category

Once upon a time…

Note: This post was going to be submitted for the Carnival Against Child Abuse, but it became more about trying to peel off another layer of scar material that was caused by the marriage.  It could be triggering, please read with care.

There was once a little girl who got hurt by the people who should have taken care of her.  This experience taught her about keeping secrets, packing the bad things into containers inside her head and to forget about most of the bad things altogether.  She became good at playing the parts and emotions that were acceptable to those around her.  Compartmentalisation and dissociation became her way of life.

As this girl grew, the dissociative walls became higher and more entrenched.  Her core beliefs were that she was a nuisance, stupid and ugly.  But she wasn’t a victim.  Oh no, she knew that bad stuff had happened, but she believed that it happened to every little girl, and no one else seemed to be complaining.  So when the girl became a woman and met a nice man, she didn’t tell him about the bad stuff; instead she listened to his stories of being abused by his sister when he was a boy.  She didn’t understand how that could have happened to this seemingly big, strong man.  It made him cry and she comforted him.

So began, what would become 8 years of physical, psychological and sexual abuse for that woman – us.

In many ways, the man came into the relationship more honest and open than we did.  He said he’d been abused, we didn’t. We got so caught up in his past that we didn’t say anything about ours – we didn’t really consider it that bad or worthy of talking about anyway.  Abuse was what we had come to expect.  So when he raped us for the first time, we dissociated it away and considered it normal.  Besides, he was good to us – he gave us flowers, cooked for us and treated us with a form of delicate care (when in front of other people) we’d never experienced before.

A pattern developed over time, he would have a crisis of some sort and we would save him.  He needed us to be strong, so we were.  We were hardly innocent within this scenario.  The woman at work used to feel sorry for him as we appeared to pick on him and order him around.  I can understand why they would get this impression – he needed to be saved and we needed to be a saviour.  The weaker he became within his work and mental health, the stronger we had to be, and the more he would abuse us when no one was looking.  The strength we showed to the world was one of us organising our world to gain some control.  When we got behind closed doors there would be a dissociative switch to one who enjoyed the pain that he inflicted sexually and physically.  He became good at triggering our switches, so we built the walls inside our internal house higher and stronger.

About four years into the relationship, we were in a side impact car accident.  We sustained a mild concussion.  In that one instant, our lives changed forever. Our coping mechanisms fell apart.  Suddenly we were weak.  Suddenly he had to be strong, but he wasn’t able.

He had been intermittently seeing different therapists over the years, but had never seen one for more than three sessions.  They were always useless or changing their fees or playing games…   We realised we were in trouble and started counselling again.  He began to self-injure, often in front of us or because of us.  He was fired from his job for assaulting a supervisor.  We tried to be strong, but were slowly falling apart.

He got a job as a security officer – a job where he could “get some respect”.  We also changed jobs.  But nothing fixed the things that were happening in each of our heads or in that house.  We were two people who had serious mental health issues crashing into each other.  We became suicidal and were regularly assessed for danger, always to be released back into the care of the strong man who was now our husband.

On the 9th of February 2008, we attempted suicide.  It wasn’t our most serious attempt, but it landed us in A&E and then the secure psychiatric ward.  On the 10th of February 2008, the strong man took us home.  What followed is blurry, but I know M made a smart arse remark to him about how he needed to grow up.  He then showed us how strong he was by trying to kill us.  His level of violence scared him and he called our mother, screaming that he’d done it this time and it was all over.  The mother thought he’d killed us.  When she talked to us, she asked if we wanted someone to come up to be with us.  Sophie said “yes”.  With our family there, he couldn’t cope with what had happened, so left the house on the 14th of February 2008.

Looking back, I can see how our different issues collided to cause what happened.  If he’d married someone who wasn’t dissociative, this probably wouldn’t have happened.  We were so conditioned for abuse, if it hadn’t been him, it would’ve been someone very similar.  Could we have ever made it work?  I doubt it.  He was not interested in healing.  He paid lip-service to therapy, but wasn’t prepared to invest the time and energy.  I was too defensive and in deep denial.  I wasn’t prepared to heal myself, instead I was so caught up in his problems that he was all I could see.  My life became about fixing him.  He has refused to attend the court ordered counselling as part of the Protection Order, so I don’t think he’ll ever heal.  I hope he does and proves me wrong…

The following clip is one we did a year ago to try to work through the events surrounding the marriage.  It may trigger.

—————-
Now playing: Powderfinger – Sunsets (acoustic)
via FoxyTunes

Scarlet

One of the first YouTube clips Sophie created was Little girl lost… which used the song Scarlet by Brooke Fraser.  This song represents our suicidal struggles.  It isn’t one of her more popular songs and as far as I know she never made a video to go with it.  Here is a simple fans version…

Middle of nowhere
Finally you can breathe
Nobody knows your name
It’s easier

Shut your eyes tightly
Clench your fists ’til they almost bleed
Cautiously, lightly
Gently expose what’s underneath

And all you feel now
Is the scarlet in the day
Even if it’s real
You can’t stay…

So there you go
You’re gone for good
There you go
You’re gone for good

Your mind is swollen
From months of thought without release
They’ve taken their toll on you
And this very moment
Of timid and fragile honesty
Is precious and rare and fleeting

And all you feel now
Is the scarlet in the day
And even if it’s real
You can’t stay…

So there you go
You’re gone for good
There you go
You’re gone for good

Oohhhh…

There you go
You’re gone for good
There you go
You’re gone for good

Hell & Anger

We did this clip over a year ago, but heard the song on the radio earlier and it reminded us about this clip.  Just trying to keep occupied…

Note: It contains images which are only suitable for adults and might trigger.

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Dissociation, friends and mindless games

On Friday we were feeling really good.  It was fairly quiet internally and there was a sense that we were OK.  We even did some YouTube stuff.  Then out of the blue, our American friend we hadn’t heard from in 3-4 months contacted us.  Yesterday we called him and it was a rather odd conversation.  He mentioned that we seemed much more integrated now.  Not sure how accurate this is, and it’s in direct contrast to a statement from Kriss who wonders if he’ll ever be able to talk to me without the protection of the others being there.   I’ve often wondered how the dissociative protection appears for the significant people in our lives, it must be very confusing for them.  I know when we were in high school one of our friends mentioned that we used to get a very nasty expression on our face for no apparent reason – I’m now pretty sure this was some sort of dissociative switch or trigger reaction.  It also helps explain why we didn’t make friends easily (at all?)…

We’re still really shaky and numb from the phone call.  I don’t know all of what was said, and most of it has been taken away from me.  I know we talked for just over two hours, but I only remember about 20 minutes of it, if that.

As for the mindless games – well this one isn’t so much mindless as REALLY addictive and frustrating, it’s called Fantastic Contraption.  The basic principle is that you have to build a contraption to move a piece of block from one area to another.  Kriss sent me the link, and is just a little annoyed that while he was still working on level three we got to level six :)  We have a young one who is great with this sort of problem solving.

As a final note, it seems that this year it’s televisions turn to beat up on Dissociative Identity Disorder – first United States of Tara and now another Criminal Minds episode…  Movies like Beautiful Mind were seen as a fairly accurate description of what it is like to live with Schizophrenia, but also received awards and made box office millions.  Why can’t the entertainment industry learn from this?  Do it well, or don’t do it at all.  But then, I suppose if they lived by that ethic there would be very few television shows or movies produced – and the problem with that would be???

Queen of Procrastination

This weekend we HAVE to finish the abuse history for ACC.  So far other fascinating jobs have meant that we’ve been unable to do this.  Jobs such as – doing the shopping; searching for images for a Polyvore set which we ended up not doing; doing household chores; trying to find a new container for a pot plant; playing cards online; answering some messages on YouTube; going to the library to drop off some books not due back for three weeks; this post…  So yeah, like vital stuff :)

Kinda wondering how long we can make this post…

Or maybe we’ll just spell check it lots…

Ohhh Earth Hour means we can’t do anything on the computer between 8.30 and 9.30…

To continue the random theme, there was a very odd conversation on Thursday between B and one of the student assistants at work.  He worked for over 10 years in a psychiatric ward while living in England – he refused to do similar work over here when he saw the conditions, techniques and methodologies used.  We’ve talked previously about mental health issues in general – he has no idea about our diagnoses.  He’s another of our cynical buddies who questions everything – usually appropriately.

Ok, so back to Thursday…  He’d been working the front desk for a couple of hours and when we came out he was ready to pull what remains of his hair out.  He’d had a stream of what he called “thick as” students.  Did I mention that he is probably one of the most intelligent people I know?  After showing his concern about the lack of common sense and academic ability amongst the student body of the institution, we joked about this factor being what made us feel more sane.  Usually he would joke along with us, but for some reason on Thursday he didn’t.  I’m not sure if he spotted us as being more vulnerable or what it was, but instead of the usual banter that would go long the lines of “we feel more sane and intelligent because we’re faced with greater stupidity and insanity”… he just straight up said “I’ve never noticed your brain not working correctly.  It works fine.”  At first we thought he was still playing around; but no, he was really serious.

M just reminded me that on Thursday we had our first appointment with the woman’s support programme, so we probably looked vulnerable to someone who knew what clues to look for.  I know he’s looked closely at our arm a couple of times – one self-injury scar is noticeable if you know what it is.  Hmmm going to have to be very “normal” with him this week and hope he forgets last week.

While we’re putting off the inevitable ACC hoop jumping exercise…  We’ve sort of reached an odd point with this blog.  We enjoy writing here, but as with anything that goes on the Internet it is open to misunderstanding, insults and ridicule.  We’ve experienced all of these in the YouTube and Polyvore sites, and we’ve recently experienced it from one of our blog entries.  With the YouTube comments, they were easily ignored because they obviously were from a very conservative view that was so out of touch with reality that it unsettled us, but didn’t really hurt too much.  But with the Polyvore and the blog instances it was a little harder to cope with.  It also tends to happen more when Sophie is involved – possibly because she is softer emotionally and that can show in the work we do.  There’s not much that we can do about it – it tends to be other people with issues pushing their extreme ideas.

Ohhh well, better go and find something else to use as an avoidance technique…

Not coping – and really annoyed about it!

It’s official, we’re not coping!

We engaged in self-injury for the first time in months over the weekend.  It’s never serious, it’s never in a place that others can see it, but it’s an indication that things are spiraling out of control again. Part of the reason is the pressure that is bearing down us – people contacting us through YouTube, people at work, start of the semester…

We coped well during the week of the anniversary by being in a very dissociated, protective state.  It’s only now that those ones are stepping back that we’re getting the backlash.  Weird responses such as sitting at the computer talking to Kriss through IM and suddenly getting the sweaty smell of the ex-husband all around us.  We’re feeling very much like a caged animal that is being poked at by sticks.  The need to lash out is incredible – but who would we lash out against?  We’d never knowingly hurt anyone else and would not put their safety at risk – if only we regarded our own body worthy of this respect.

Another indication that we’re struggling is that some of us are at peace and content.  Quite often when we’re going into a downward spiral the difference between those who are at peace and sad or angry becomes greater.  Not quite sure why this is, but it has happened consistently.  It is at these times that the soothing messages about suicide being the ideal option become stronger.  These messages are always harder to ignore when they are soothing…

The final straw came in two forms yesterday:

1) Someone on YouTube sending us a message about forgiving our abusers and accepting God into our hearts.  We respect everyones right to exercise their religious freedom, as long as it doesn’t negatively impact on anyone else.  But why would someone do such a random message?  The person talked about letting go of the anger towards our abusers.  We don’t hate them, we don’t feel anything but confusion and self-blame about it all.

2) At work there is a vacancy for a position that will be working closely with us and is two grades lower, meaning less responsibility.  We found out yesterday that the library manager was going to offer the position to the person at a pay level $5000 above our current salary.  So we would basically be supervising someone who is earning more than us.

One moment at a time…


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