SURVIVING THE STORM

storm waves crashing

My previous post spoke of how it feels to lose someone or many people, close to you; how the waves of grief come crashing down on you. It is talking about death in these instances. But what if the person you are grieving for is still alive but just out of your reach. This is also excruciatingly painful.

When the person is still alive but not in your life any longer, the pain and heartache are also almost unbearable as the waves still come crashing down on you time after time. These tidal surges continue as if they are beating against a ship, wrecked out at sea.

[In advance, I apologize for the length of this post. I wrote it for me. I wrote it because I needed to. I’ve needed to for a long, long time. Even if it is not read by anyone else, that does not matter. This is me … Ellie.]

I was talking to my therapist this morning. We spoke of my late night, yesterday. I was sitting, staring at my computer screen for hours, trawling the internet. I was searching for details of my previous therapist, *K, who I now, (after some years), recognize was emotionally and psychologically abusive to the point that I was totally in love with her, hung on her every word and believed each sentence she spoke. I was desperately searching for her name, her address, her photo, anything; a memory of this woman that I loved so much.

I travelled a round trip of two hours (at a cost to me to the point I was seriously in debt), on three mornings a week for eight years, to be with her. I was so emotionally dependent on her; I could barely breathe without her approval. All those years … all those wasted, damaging, life-threatening years. I don’t use the term ‘life-threatening’ lightly or as a casual, throwaway remark but because on one occasion when she was presumably cross with me for some reason I cannot remember, she actually said ‘Why you don’t go home and kill yourself’ and I tell the God’s honest truth here.

I attempted to take my life. I say cross as opposed to angry because the roles we took were of she, the strict, authoritarian parent, and I, the obedient child. She encouraged and nurtured this to the point where I loved and depended on her more than I did my own mother. There were hugs, kisses, gifts, cards etc. Every time she didn’t reply to a text or answer the phone (all of which were smashing the boundaries leaving nothing but a ship wrecked at sea), I punished my body in a self-destructive way because I assumed she didn’t ‘love’ me anymore and therefore, I envisaged that I had done something wrong; I had been the disobedient child. I actually took a blade to my skin, a bottle to my lips and dozens of pills to my throat on many an occasion.

It ended suddenly. It ended on the day of my father’s death when she questioned me as to why I was so upset and wasn’t I happy on this day, bearing in mind he had seriously abused me for all of my childhood? Nevertheless, he was still my father and somewhere amongst the hate, the terror, the disgust and the shame, he was still the only father I had and yes, I was upset that my father had died. In disgust and frustration, (because she had been insisting I relive the sexual abuse that took place all those years), she walked out on me and never came back. As well as losing my father that day, I lost my therapist, my guide, my mother, my friend and ally, my everything. I was devastated. I wanted to die along with the loss of her. I attempted this and woke, days later, in intensive care, but I survived and recovered slowly, at least physically but never, emotionally or psychologically.

Despite all this, four years later, I still miss her, pine for her affection, long to see her again. I love her. I hate her. I miss her, with those waves crashing down on me so often that I feel I will perish like a ship at sea. The pain of losing her is sometimes unbearable and I don’t want to be living and breathing on this Earth at those times.

shipwreck2

But … I am here. Despite everything, I am still here. Somehow, my time was not up yet. And although those waves still frequently come crashing in around my ears, I survive them, all be it bruised and battered emotionally. I recognize her for the controlling, sick, manipulative woman that she was and I hate her for what she did to me.

I love her. I miss her, I want to remember her face which has strangely faded from my memory. I search for her. I need her. I want her back … but do I? Do I, really? Do I want my life smashed against the side of the shipwrecked vessel, time and time again till I am worn away and engulfed by the sea?

NO! I don’t. Not anymore. I have come too far. I do not wish to turn back as often as I’m tempted to. I deserve better. I am stronger than that. I am here. I am me and will remain so until my true time comes. I am a survivor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHIPWRECKED

I am posting this copy of G.Snow’s moving advice for a reason that will become self-evident in my following post. Please take the time to read them both. It means a lot to me. Thank you x

The beautiful piece of writing was done by a commenter, four years ago in response to a poster asking for advice on grief.

The original post simply read: “My friend just died. I don’t know what to do.”

Here was Reddit’s, GSnow’s moving advice:

Alright, here goes. I’m old. What that means is that I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not. I’ve lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can’t imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here’s my two cents.
I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter”. I don’t want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.
As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage, and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.
In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.
Somewhere down the line, and it’s different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O’Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.
Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come. And you’ll survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.

THE SOUND OF SILENCE

(This post was written on the spur of the moment, completely unpolished).

the sound of silence

I’ve gone and done it again! Just when I thought I couldn’t make things any worse; just when I thought I was getting it right…NOOOOO, I’ve fucked up again!

I’ve told – shhh – I should’ve kept quiet – just like before – just like all the times before – I’ve gone and hurt someone I love; the person who probably means the most to me in all the world – my Mum. I told – I told – I should have kept it to myself. I’m a grown woman, not a young child – I ought to know better – I ought to have known better. It’s too late now. I’ve said it – there – it’s said – Oh! The shame!

I told my Mum about my recent assault – I’d left it two weeks before I told her for fear of upsetting her, but now it seems that I have done more damage than good by leaving it that long. It’s just like before – just like all those other times – I shouldn’t have told her. What is the matter with me? Am I totally stupid, or what? Yes, apparently, it seems that I am.

I felt I had to hide it. I felt I had to hide the shame – like all those times before when I got abused. Now, I’m a grown-up, I should know better. She can’t understand why I didn’t tell her before. I couldn’t – I just couldn’t. It’s been ingrained into my brain, ‘not to tell’. When I told her of my child abuse as an adult many years ago, she didn’t believe me and perhaps didn’t want to believe me. Maybe, it hurt too much to admit it to herself, particularly as it was my father.

She’s so hurt that I kept it from her whilst ‘pretending’ and appearing to be alright and okay on the outside. I wasn’t okay – truly – I was not okay. I was screaming in the silence. I’ve hurt my Mum and I was trying to protect her. How do I ever apologise enough for the pain I’ve caused her? I’m so sorry, Mum; I’m truly sorry. How can I undo the damage I have caused? How can sorry ever be enough?

I should have stayed silent – the sound of silence is infinitely better than the sound of betrayal of trust – my own Mother can no longer trust me to be truthful with her; to be honest. How can I ever put that one right? I could weep tears for the damage I’ve done it now and there’s nothing I can do to turn back the hands of time to do it all differently. I should have kept quiet. I prefer the sound of silence to the sound of pain. Forgive me, my Mother, forgive me, please. I’ve fucked up again.

shame

(Image courtesy of Henry Fuseli)

ANGRY – I’M DEAD IN THE WATER / I’M GOING SLIGHTLY MAD (VIDEOS)

Often lately, I have been thinking that for how much my children care or rather do not care about me, I may just as well be dead in the water, as the song says. Would I missed? No, I think not. At least, not by them. I know I have some good friends and I appreciate that so much but it doesn’t take the pain away. Am I angry? Yes, I am. I am angry at my children for depriving me of my grandchildren.

I’m angry with my care agency for not doing their job properly, not my carers (they are all great). It’s the bloody management who don’t bloody well look after their staff so their staff are all leaving in droves and I can’t say I blame them!

I’m angry with my church for not even noticing that I haven’t been there for the last six weeks, and now; now that I’ve let on (I thought, confidentially) to someone that I was leaving as I’ve found a much more supportive church; now, the phone rings at 7.15pm. I can see that it’s my church but I don’t pick up. The Minister has left a message saying she just wanted to talk to me about something and she wondered how I was…NOW? 

I am just so angry….I’m angry with life in general. I’m angry at the world! I’m not feeling sorry for myself…I’m just feeling utterly and thoroughly pissed off by everything in my life! I’m so angry that I’m in the state of mind that I don’t really care whether I’m here (as in alive and breathing), or not. In fact the idea of being ‘dead in the water’ quite appeals at this current moment.

I think I’m going slightly mad! I feel like an unexploded time-bomb, detonated and primed to off at any minute….any minute now. What do you do with yourself when yo feel like this? Answers on a postcard….

AS NICE AS PIE…

I’m as nice as pie to those around me, caring, lovingly so, genuinely. But me? Me? Right now, I couldn’t give a toss. I feel like shit and am full of self hatred and anger and don’t know why. Perhaps jut a phase of the Borderline Personality Disorder which is of no consolation whatsoever.

This isn’t a clever piece of writing….neither beautifully worded or artistic….just a scream from deep within, silenced before it hits the surface and not dissimilar to the silent screams of my childhood. Flooded with flashbacks and sudden vicious body memories…ugh….argh….get me out of here! I don’t want to be in my body. It’s ugly, it’s damaged, it’s scarred for all to see…I hate it….I want to cut, cut out the bad. I hurt. I am hurting inside and out….the pain becoming intolerable. Panic setting in now as if enough isn’t enough.

the_scream_munch_artcover_by_yourlittlepsycho-d2z2lyb

(Edvard Munch – The Scream)

The clock is ticking, tick-tock, tic-tock…ticking the hours of my life away. I urge it to tick faster to stop it all…stop the pain. I long for slumber but this evades me too. I’m drowsy now but fighting off the sleep I so desperately need; head nodding slowly only to be suddenly shaken back into the reality I don’t want to see, hear or live. My head is muddled. I need help. I don’t know where to turn…. I search, I rummage, I hunt, but cannot even muster up the energy to ask for help

“Go to bed, for f*ck’s sake, go to bed. Stop expressing how you feel and boring the pants off the world“, my mind speaks to my head. I make no sense. This is literately nonsense, no sense….madness….confusion….total and utter confusion.

Chloe cries, my little one. My precious child within screams out in pain….and I can do nothing to comfort or console her….she suffers as we all do.  

I need to get out of my head….I need to get out of my life…..no longer wanted, needed or desired. So why should I remain here to suffer for the sake of those supposed to be close to me yet full of venom and hatred towards me? 

What am I dong here? Empty, devoid of love, worthless, pointless, aimlessly wandering to and fro and yet trapped within this head of mine….desperately fighting to escape from what is supposed to suffice as a brain..

“GET ME OUT OF HERE! PLEASE, GOD, GET ME OUT OF HERE!”

 

ARTIFICIAL SMILES; (THE TRASH BUTTON)

Following last night’s blog, I am now, this morning, very much, hurting, upset, aching and guilty about what I expressed. I was so aggressive! Where did all that anger come from? It’s not like me to express myself as I did, to rant and rage to that extreme. I am writing this in shame and trying hard to resist the temptation of  hitting the Trash button. I am feeling very guilty for ‘attacking’ my own flesh and blood in that way. I am shocked about how I could say such things even though they are the honest truth. But I feel my children have abandoned me. They are totally and openly rejecting me. I have been discarded, like a bag of kitchen rubbish tossed into the bin to rot till someone takes it away and dumps it somewhere….anywhere….on the trash heap.

The weaker side of me so wants to trash last night’s post but the stronger side of me is saying that I have a right to be heard.

Damn it, I cut myself last night…..how do I explain that one when my carers get me washed and dressed and notice the angry, red wounds on my arms? They are aware I have healed scars but never fresh marks. I feel so ashamed. Why the hell did I go and do that yet I barely remember the actions I took in my pain and despair. I am watching the clock and trying to think up excuses before they arrive. I hurt so much, I hurt so badly that I feel physical pain in my body far more than usual; pain in my heart, sick to the stomach. 

(My carer has been and gone. She saw my arm. She saw I was upset. I couldn’t hide either. She says she has to report me to the office when she goes back. I feel like a naughty schoolchild about to be sent to be reprimanded by the Headmaster).

Oh God! What a mess! I feel like sh*t inside, yet I know I will go to my new church this morning, full of artificial smiles and joyful exclamations of “Yes, I’m fine, thank you”. I am very, very far from fine.

 

 

 

CONTAGIOUS?

the darkness

What do I write when I suddenly feel so dark inside;
when a veil has been drawn over my face
so no-one outside of me really knows how I feel?
And no-one seems to want to know.
“She’s just in one of her ‘funny’ moods today”, they comment,
not seeing the tremendous pain I am in.

Everything is black. I can see no light and yet,
yesterday my life was bursting with love and joy
and I was on top of the world. Then suddenly,
I find myself plummeting headlong, back into the abyss.
The sun may be shining outside but I have my eyes closed
because I cannot bear the pain of opening them.

Today, I cannot see the sun, nor the moon or the stars
I want to hurt myself to feel the physical pain
because the emotional pain inside is just too much to bear.
I’d would die for the want of a hug, yet
I don’t want you to touch me
Just in case I am contagious. 

A MUSEUM PIECE

I have said, on more than one occasion, that I will not let the fact that my two children choose to reject me, stop me living the best quality of life that I am able. I am mostly pretty successful at this, continuing to write, to read, to get out and take part in life in general. However, there are times when the pain just becomes too unbearable and no amount of ‘a better quality of life’ is enough to compensate for my despair and isolation.

A MUSEUM PIECE

Forgive me my fragility and indulgence
Of a few tears shed
Tumbling down my cheeks
As I think back on my life-time so far

This is not what I envisaged
That my life would be as such; not ever
Dreams shattered like broken glass
Trod carelessly, underfoot

What have I to show for my toil and trouble?
Two offspring who barely know I am here
I play no importance in their lives
And neither in that of my grandchildren

They grow faster and brighter
I grow older, greyer, and wiser
I am, to them, just a mere label
A being with a name but no face

Like some distant aunt who lives far away
In the eyes of the children
I am merely, decrepit, and distant
Akin to an object in a museum

To be peered at on occasional visits
I cannot play hide-and-seek with them
Or climb the stairs to see their shiny, new toys
Nor to be introduced to the latest gerbil

I am deeply saddened and wounded
By this state of affairs
My heart is breaking in two; yet my own
Children play no part in my restoration.

I don’t think my situation is helped any by the fact that I have only one ‘real-life friend to whom I am eternally grateful to as she has stuck by me through all my really despicable years since losing my children: Full of alcoholism, drugs, self harm, anorexia, frequent attempts at suicide etc, and has never given up on me. We see each for a couple of hours, once a week and I so treasure that time and feel is she like goldust to me. I have no other friends other than you, my virtual but valuable and appreciated friends on WordPress. So I thank you, my blogging friends for all your love, caring and support and hope I am able to give a little goldust to each of you at some time. Big Hugs from me, coming your way so watch out……….! xxx

world close people

I would like to add that it has been some years since I have indulged in any of these reckless, self-harming activities although I still have issues with my eating sometimes. All the overdoses, drugs, alcohol, cutting etc have damaged my body permanently so if anyone is struggling with these issues, I do hope you are seeking/getting help and support xxx

THE BRIGHTEST STAR IN THE SKY.

I write, not to impress others, not to make an impact, not to gain ‘Likes’ or ‘Stats’ but to express my deepest feelings when I have no other way of expressing them other than to self-sabotage in some way which I’m trying hard not to do (although not always succeeding).

I am hurting, hurting very much because I am being deprived of contact with my grandchildren, all three of them and one on the way. I saw this picture and it made me think that perhaps when I’m dead and gone, they will think of me as the brightest star in the sky shining down on them. On the other hand, they may not think of me at all, if ever…I just don’t know but then I guess none of us do.

stars1

In the meantime, I will love; I will love with all my heart and with everything I have got and wrap it up in pretty parcels for each one of you, my little missing ones. A hug will, of course, accompany each parcel. I will wait; I will wait for a long time; I will wait forever; I will always be waiting my darlings.

waiting

I long for my daughter or my son to pick the phone up one day and for me to hear the words “How are you, Mum?” But it’s not likely to happen. In the eight years since my first grandchild was born, it has never happened and I know it’s never likely to. Some say I am a pessimist. I say I am a realist with maybe a touch of pessimism which I think is fair and just, given the circumstances.

Oh, how I long to take you in my arms, my little ones, and hold you, hug you, tell you how much I love you; how much I’ve always loved you; how much I miss you being in my life; how much I miss being in your lives. I dream I will be invited to your sports’ day, your school play where you maybe play the sheep in the nativity play, a school concert to watch you play recorder, trying so hard to get the notes right. I dream of having your paintings and drawings adorn my kitchen cupboard doors and all over the freezer, to find bits of your Lego down the side of my sofa, to find a felt tip pen rolled under the table; anything to remind me of you.

I live in hope. I hope in vain. I hurt. I really hurt as salty tears roll down my face. They say that tears are nature’s way of healing…..If that were so, I would have healed the world by now.

IT’S SO HARD TO SAY GOODBYE

It’s so very hard to say goodbye, or at least ‘au revoir’ to your own offspring. My children have broken my heart and continue to do so despite everything. I’ve not heard from either of them since ‘The Reunion’ despite leaving a loving but undemanding message on my daughter’s ansafone. I don’t have a number for my son so can’t contact him! This has been going on for years and years and I don’t know how much more heartache I can take.

I’m considering an option my therapist put to me….to mentally say au revoir to them both for the time being until/if they ever come round to caring about me. Or maybe I have to wait till my grandchildren are old enough to want to come and find me. In the meantime, I have to concentrate on building a life for myself which unfortunately doesn’t include them. But it’s so hard to let go, to give up the hope, cut the umbilical cord and say goodbye (at least for the foreseeable future). There’s nothing left to try anymore. They have me beaten. I don’t want to wave them goodbye knowing they won’t even be waving back.

waving goodbye

I’ve even had to take their photographs down and put them carefully away because it just hurt’s too much to see them. I have started keeping three ‘memory books’, one each for my grandchildren and I write nice things, also what I’ve been doing, that I’m thinking of them, that I never stopped loving them. I find pictures that I think they’ll like, considering them one by one carefully. I wish I knew what they were interested in, what they’re ‘into’ etc, especially my eight and five-year old. Sadly I don’t know my little S, who’s one and a half, at all so have no idea what she likes so just have to choose age-appropriate ideas. I hope and pray that one day, they will want to come and find me, that one day they’ll question their parents, my children, and ask why they don’t see me.

What makes me really sad is that they don’t have anything to do with my Mum either and she so longs to meet her great-grandchildren but she’s 84 and none of us know how much longer she’ll be with us. Hopefully, she’ll still be here in 5-10 years time but who knows when our time is going to be up? But it will be too late for her and that is so, so awful.

This song is about a couple saying goodbye but I’ve added it here because the emotions are the same when you try to say goodbye to your own children. And I will always love them. There will always be a huge place in my heart for them. I will forgive them for hurting me if they come back. I will always love you, T and C xxx