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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Therapy: The Beginning of the End

This all began in February 2006. I didn't start blogging about it immediately. My first therapist had me write bunches of stuff, some of which was helpful, some of which was not. But then I discovered if I posted my therapy assignments online, I no longer felt I was writing secret things that I could only discuss with my therapist. It was out there. No one read it, but someone could if they wanted to. And that made a large difference in how I felt about myself and my therapy journey.

So for more than seven years I've been picking myself apart, looking at things I'd been burying so deep I thought they could never be found, and trying with every ounce of strength I possess to become more than the things that have been done to me. I've not always been successful. Even now there are days when I wake up and think, "I don't want to be the person who was unwanted, unsupervised, abused and molested by adults and raped by a cousin. I don't want to be her. I want to be loved and accepted and protected because people care about me and want me." But I'm not, so I wait until I feel strong enough to be the one I wish I was not, and then I get up and start my day.

I can do that now. I could not do it in February 2006. At that point in my life I would manufacture a scenario I could live with, I would become a fictional person who was strong, invulnerable, delightful, and funny and I would enjoy my day. I felt happy. I thought I was happy. I had no idea I was unhappy until my rapist cousin's wife killed herself. Then I couldn't stop remembering the things I had tried to zap out of my existence. Realizing my magic wasn't as strong as I had thought, was fairly daunting.

I made progress, but that brought an onslaught of feelings I couldn't manage. I ended up doing a stint in the mental health ward of the hospital on suicide watch. It was during that time that PTSD was diagnosed and I had a name for the monster that had become more and more powerful as I tried to heal from my past.


The monster remains untamed, but most of the time we coexist fairly peacefully. There are nights it robs me of sleep, and relationships it tries to destroy, and days it keeps me immobile, but I'm still working with it, trying to teach it who is in control of my life, trying to honor the emotions it elicits without buying into the ones that are from a long time ago, silencing it while trying to maintain communication in important relationships I'd like to keep healthy.

I never know what will pop up, but I'm getting very good at learning what to do with unpleasant emotional surprises. I've nearly finished all the therapy assignments I said I could or would not do. Most of the time I know who I am, and while I'm not what I would like to be, I think I'm okay. I long for a time when I won't feel that I am less than everyone who has not been abused or raped. I think that might happen someday. I wish the men in my life who make derogatory comments about women--their anatomy, their smell, their brains, their habits, whatever--could understand what that does to me. I'm hopeful it's not their aim to plunge me into the place where I am once again helpless, a victim too small and insignificant to fight against unfair or untrue words that hurt and demean. I think those men care about me until the words are spoken--then I am certain they exist only to hurt me. One day I will be strong enough to say I don't want those kinds of people in my life and I will do something about it. Maybe that will mean I have very few men, especially gay men who cast the slurs about the female body most often, in my life. Maybe that's okay.

I have everything I need to successfully live my life. This doesn't mean I always use those strategies successfully, only that I can if I choose to. I went through a period of time when I would rely on no one for many years. More recently I went through a time when I felt I HAD to rely on one or two people or I would not make it through the things that were happening. That feeling persists to a certain degree even now, and I'm pretty sure the people I've leaned on are ready for me to leave them alone for awhile. I can do that--I will do that. It's time.

During the next few years I believe I'll be concentrating on what is true about me now. I'll be identifying traits that are inherently mine, those that make Samantha the person she is. And I'll keep working on staying healthy emotionally and physically. I'm not sure what will happen socially. That belongs not only to me, but to the people in my life. On my part, I will always welcome them--chats, emails, visits--but there will definitely be times when the ball is in their court. I've found that when I'm the person who always seeks an audience, I begin to feel insecure and resentful. I don't like that and I definitely don't need that. Relationships in my life must be a two-way street; I wish to be loved and needed as much as I love and need the other person. When that no longer is in place, I'll probably become less available.

I have a great deal left to do in my life. I have a marvelous journey ahead of me. I hope there will be people who wish to accompany me, spend time with me, share my life with me, but if not, I still intend to live.


  1. You are strong. You are beautiful. I think of you a lot, and I draw from your strength often. Thanks for sharing your story and your insight.

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  3. I can see the growth in you, Sam, and am happy for how far you've come. Yes, the growth and learning never end but that's a good thing. Keep those in your life who bless you and pray for those who don't. Enjoy the journey, the successes and the love of those who give it. You are a beautiful woman.

  4. Thank you--to both of you. You are both women I respect and receiving supportive comments from you has been more than helpful.