There is Always HOPE! Right?!

© Jack Hollow

There is Always Hope © Jack Hollow Photography

 

My heart is aching right now… I am just trying to hold on to hope. The hope that this little girl will catch her heart…and the hope that mine will mend.

 

I feel so lost in this world. I lack understanding of why some things have happened and why some things don’t happen.

Why do some people think they have the right to hurt others? Do they think they’re better or more worthy than others?!

 

I didn’t remember the abuse for six years…not a single bit of it. The professionals say this was a coping mechanism. That my mind wanted to make sure I was safe enough before devulging this important information to me. Sounds kind of weird…and sometimes I feel this information should have been made available to me sooner…but at the same time I wish I’d never found out.

When I was in my early to mid years at school, we started to have “sex education” classes. I would come out of those classes and not remember a single word spoken by the teacher. I didn’t know why this was, but things like this happened a lot in my childhood (and now) – losing time. Later I found out this was called Dissociating.

I spent a lot of my childhood taking care of my younger brother. Not because my parents were not capable (they were and are great parents), but because there were things that even they couldn’t protect us from. I wasn’t always physically protecting him, but sometimes mentally and emotionally too. Our eldest brother used to be physically & emotionally abusive towards another brother (there are 4 brothers). At times I had to hide in cupboards or run to a neighbours house with my younger brother.

Sometimes I question why I never told anyone about the sexual abuse while it was happening. I guess the physical threat of my younger brother’s life would have been enough of a reason, but I think there were other reasons also.
Mostly I think my reasons were about protection – of myself & family. I was threatened with a knife by my abuser…he cut me on the hip and threatened to “do it to him too“. I knew he didn’t mean the knife, but rather the other things he had done to me. I had almost died when he held me under the water…while he laughed. I didn’t want my baby brother to die or to experience what I had.

Two years ago, my younger brother wrote me a letter. In it he wrote “you have looked after me for years, now it’s my turn to look after you”. I never knew he even realised how much I had actually done to look after him. I love my brother so much.

I’ve come so far.
And there’s my hope

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Finding the New Me!

This may be triggering for Eating Disorders/Body image etc. Also for Abuse Trauma!! Please take care.

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I attended a Webinar yesterday. Have you ever been to one of those? This one was about Trauma and Weight gain. Of course, trauma can have the opposite effect also, which I’ve discovered from my friends in hospital and online. Something that struck me though, is whether you’ve grown in size or shrunk in size due to trauma, one thing seems to be equal…we’re trying to hide from a world that we perceive to be unsafe. People such as myself are hiding behind the fat and (some) people with EDs such as Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa are trying to hide also, by disappearing altogether.

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I’ll try to explain it like this…

We all have “primal” instincts, right? You may have heard of the “fight or flight” concept (many now add in “freeze” to the mix).
The thing is, that these responses go back to our cave man days. Flight, was quite literally fleeing from predators and Fight, was going out and attacking – hunting food.

Say I was walking down the street and a dog came out of nowhere and was about to attack. I could fight – by preparing to defend myself; flight – quite literally, run away; or Freeze – not know what to do!

Our bodies have physiological reactions to these responses…it’s not just “in your mind”.
That’s where weight changes, due to trauma, come in.

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I am currently in “FREEZE” mode. Trying to appear invisible.
I don’t know whether to run away or fight. My mind is confused and so is my body, but apparently I can change that.

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I am fat because my mind wants me to be fat…even though on a conscious level I want to be thinner. My mind thinks that the fat is protecting me from an unsafe world. Of course this is not true.

“Wanting to be skinny” isn’t good enough for my mind. It needs proof that the world is safe, which is where the psychological aspect of weight loss comes into play.

I’ll be working with my therapist to hopefully deal with the following beliefs which are hindering my weight loss:

  • The world is not safe
  • I am lazy
  • I am ugly
  • I can’t live a “normal” life – study, work, family
  • I’ll never have a baby because I’m too fat
  • I must lose weight before I date anyone
  • I’m different to others
  • I won’t survive without Mum & Dad
  • I was always supposed to be fat
  • I deserve to be fat and ugly
  • I’ll never amount to anything
  • Nobody will ever want to be with me because I’m fat

I think I’m already on my way there just by recognising these.

There is more to come, so if you’re interested, please follow me on my journey of self discovery.

A Weighty Issue

I am considered to be medically “Morbidly Obese”.

There are many psychological layers to my obesity, just as there are many physical layers to my fat.

It might not make sense, but this (my weight issue) is probably the main thing I wish I could “turn back time” on, because It has had lasting effects through my life. So many compounding factors have and do effect my weight. It is ‘out there’ for everyone to see and it’s such a social thing – food, weight, body image, etc. I just wish less emphasis was put on appearance.

My earliest memory is being told I had “fat feet” by a kid in pre-school. In my head now I say to that kid “well look at your face” but I seriously don’t remember how I actually reacted at the time. I just remember this feeling of being crushed.

The first time I was told to lose weight was by a dance teacher when I was 7. At this age I was fit, healthy and perhaps stocky – but not overweight or obese. I think she had my best interests at heart at the time – she was aware of what some adjudicators look at, and knew I had the potential to be an amazing dancer if I’d “slimmed down” to fit the ideal look for a dancer.

My brother used to have such lovely nicknames for me…Bush Pig and Yglu Taf Woc (Ugly Fat Cow backwards) were some of his favourites. He is 8 years older than me and was the baby before I came along. I think there was a little jealousy there, but he’s lovely now.

I’m on a lot of medication and this has impacted my weight significantly! Anti-psychotics are the worst, but I’m also on an anti-depressant (Avanza) which can cause weight gain.

Then there’s the sexual abuse I encountered. I have used my weight, in both a physical and symbolic sense, of stopping people from getting close to me. It’s a buffer – protection, mostly from the male species, but I’ve come to realise it doesn’t always work (some guys actually like big women).

The social side of it…

Everything revolves around eating. Why is this? Why are there so many ads on telly for food and then the next ad will be a skinny size 4 model on a beach with a hot guy or something! It’s confusing – and wrong in my opinion!
I must mention the looks of disgust I get as I walk down the street. People either look right through me, or scan every inch of my fatness with their condescending eyes! Judging me – imagining what I ate in the past 24 hours and wondering why I don’t just “stop eating”. That’s the other thing…if I’m eating in public, no matter what I’m eating (could be a salad), I get looks of abomination that I even be putting food near my mouth!

I had lapband surgery in 2005, which I consider to have been UNsuccessful. It’s not a quick fix, that’s for sure and I knew this. I have lost and kept off a considerable amount of weight from the pre-surgery diet, but I’ve given up on having my band filled.
In my opinion, the problem with lapband surgery is that it may limit your food intake, but the types of food you can eat are limited.
e.g. I found it is very difficult to digest meat/chicken & salad without it getting stuck and having to bring it back up. On the other hand – chocolate, biscuits and lollies go down quite nicely.

At various times I remember my Mum, Dad, Brothers, Sister and others telling me I needed to lose weight, or that they were worried about my weight.
I could have gone either way – prove them right, or prove them wrong. As my mental state deteriorated I became that fat person in my head. I suppose the belief became so strong in my mind that I became physically morbidly obese. Not only proving myself and others right, but putting my physical health at serious risk.
I’m not saying these people made me obese. I am saying that my young and fragile mind misconstrued their words of concern and instilled in me a core belief that I was, in fact, fat.

Now that I’m in a better head space mentally, I do want to do something about my weight…but I want it to be on my terms and for me!

I want to tell the haters to piss off and let me get on with it – your judgement isn’t helping!!!

New Years Resolutions…

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars

It doesn’t really work for everyone, as some people can’t handle only the stars…they want the whole universe!
In the past few days I’ve said many times that I don’t believe in New Years Resolutions. Not because I don’t want to challenge or set goals for myself, but because I don’t want to crash if I don’t achieve them all!

I don’t believe in the word “failure” anymore. You see, there is something to be gained from everything…
I used to think going into hospital was a failure on my part. I thought this right up until this year actually… Seven months in hospital and I learned so much that I could never consider it to be a failure.
You can’t fail at life!
At times it may feel like life fails you, but they are just blips on the journey. Life really has so much to offer – no matter what your background.

It sometimes amazes me how people who would be considered socially less fortunate than myself, appear to be so happy. I think they have embraced life for what it is! And instead of complaining about every little heartache – they make the most of what they’ve got, when they’ve got it.

I do have some goals for the New Year:

  • Use 2013 as a gap year, to rediscover myself!
  • Get back into teaching dance
  • Work for my Dad & Brother
  • Improve my physical health and fitness.
  • Keep working hard in therapy
  • Reduce some medication
  • Embrace life!

What are your goals for 2013?

The start of a New Year, The start of a Blog!

Happy New Year!!! Here’s to the start of a new blog!

My dog, Rosie, didn’t like the loud noise from the fireworks much – nor did the other dogs in the neighbourhood…I could have sworn I was at a dog pound, with all the barking!

I had a few (alcoholic) drinks tonight. I’m not a drinker usually, so I hope what I’m writing is legible! I mostly don’t drink because I am on so much medication and I find it just makes me sleepy most of the time.

I guess I should start by telling you a bit about myself…

I am 28 years old and I come from a very big and loving family – I think if any of them read this blog, they might encounter a few surprises! I have been diagnosed with Complex PTSD & Schizoaffective Disorder and in therapy with the same psychologist since I was 16. I can tell you it’s been a long and rugged road I’ve traveled thus far with her! I also see a psychiatrist, who I’ve been seeing since about 2005/6.

2012 was one of my most difficult, yet most enlightening years. I spent 7 months as an inpatient at a psychiatric hospital, which you may think would make this year a right-off, but it wasn’t! I learned SO much about where I came from and what brought me to this point. I learned that after every hurdle, there is soft grass to land on – my family and friends are that soft grass, as is the life I am building for myself. I learned that life is too precious and beautiful for me to feel negatively towards those who no longer exist in my present. I learned that “bad” events in life do not define who I am. I learned that a lot of my emotions are “misdirected” upon myself, instead of those who deserve it.

I’m going to share a little about my past below:

I was abused sexually from the age of about 5 to 9. Thankfully, it was not anyone in my family who perpetrated this abuse. I “repressed” the memories of the abuse until I was about 14. For a long time I couldn’t remember who my abusers were (I always knew there were two) and this really concerned me because I thought it may be someone in the family, but now – it’s crystal clear who they were and I really couldn’t give a toss about them.

Looking back, I showed some classic signs of a child who had been abused.

  • I played inappropriate games with dolls…right up until I was 14.
  • I was easily shamed.
  • Was overly sensitive at times – especially with my older brother (whose ex-friends were the perpetrators).
  • I dissociate/d a lot.
  • People pleaser – especially with authority figures.

If only life could be a bed of roses though, right? But sometimes it’s a bed of thorns. Life can be hard, but I’m just beginning to see it can be worthwhile too…

There’s so much I want to say, but it’s 3:30am…time for bed.