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So the Tennessee portion of this trip is coming to an end. We leave in the morning for the 4 hour venture to southern Indiana where my other Grandma (Mamaw) lives. Mamaw fell and broke her pelvis and her wrist a few months back and was recently discharged from the nursing home she was receiving rehabilitation at. I can’t wait to see her because I’ve been so worried. I picture her bedridden and unable to help herself so I need to see her up and functioning to help relieve some of the anxiety I have over her going home. The nurse in me fears the worst I suppose.

This portion of the trip has been good. Slightly boring, but good. Granny’s house is always pretty uneventful. The highlight of the day is watching the Waltons with the whole family gathered around the kitchen table. She has recently moved up to watching NCIS a lot which is at least interesting so I can’t complain too much since she used to watch that silly old show Family Matters (remember Steve Urkel?!) at least 15 times a day. I acquired some plants to bring home and repot, assuming I don’t kill them on the ride home. She gave me a little snip of rosebush to root and I stole some “hen and chicks” from her giant plant. Tomorrow she’s supposed to have a calla lilly for me to take as well. I am looking forward to getting some plants out on my patio when I get home. Granny lives in a very small town in rural Tennessee called Winchester. i’ll never forget the first time I came here. We were almost here, maybe about an hour outside of town and my dad called to get directions. My GREAT-Granny was still alive at the time and got on the phone.. now imagine this is the most southern backwoods Tennessee accent you can come  up with.. She says “Now.. when you get to the top of the mountain.. Turn left.” It was absolutely hilarious at the time as she was dead serious.

In a sense I am still climbing the mountain, Granny.. but when I get there I don’t want to turn left. I just want to take in the clean cold air and soak in the beauty that is around me. I will get there someday. I’m getting closer and closer every day.

Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out – it’s the grain of sand in your shoe. ~Robert Service


This post was originally written 12/15/2009

So I finally went back to see my therapist and my psychiatrist a few weeks ago. Here’s the events from that.

I am officially diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (possibly recurrent) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was started on Pristiq for the depression. For the PTSD I am on Lunesta to help me sleep and hopefully diminish the nightmares. I now have some pills to take when I have my intense anxiety/panic attacks. It isn’t really helping well so I see my doc again next week and I will try to discuss with him if there are any better options.

The PTSD is all related to my history of sexual abuse. The first thing I remember happening to me was when I was very young. Our regular babysitter was sick so her older brother (about 17ish) watched my sister and I instead. I remember him taking my sister, who was about 2 or 3 at the time, and I into my parents room and shutting the door. The lights were dim and he made us lay there while he stroked himself. He ended up asking us to kiss it, stroke it, put it in our mouths, etc. My sister doesn’t remember this at all, which is understandable with how young she was, but I recall it very vividly. The second, and worst, thing that happened to me was my first marriage. The entire two years of my marriage I think I may have consented to sex enough times to count on one hand. He was very forceful and would often take hours to finish. I remember laying in bed crying as he had sex with me and told me over and over how “if I was better at it” or “if you didn’t lay there and not actually try to be sexy” he wouldn’t take so long. I was forced to perform oral sex if I did something wrong or lost an argument. I’m sure to some people you may not understand.. but what he did was rape. Just because he was legally my husband.. it was still rape. It took me a very long time to come to terms with it and be able to say it out loud. I am not ashamed anymore when someone asks me about the situation and I tell them. 9 times out of 10 the response I get is “rape? But he’s your husband.. I mean how does that work?”

I have learned to educate people that there are so many different ways women can suffer from sexual trauma and to degrade me for saying he raped me only helps me understand why I took nine years after the marriage to finally seek help. I was ashamed and afraid that I wouldn’t be taken seriously. Therapy has helped me to understand that I was not at fault, that I wasn’t doing anything wrong, and that what he did to me was wrong.. plain and simple.

I know that many of you women out there are afraid to talk about what happened to you.. whether it be a situation like mine or a rape by a stranger. I want to tell you that you are not at fault. You didn’t do anything to put yourself in the situation that you were in. The person who hurt you was a deeply damaged individual who wanted to control you, to feel that sense of power. Rape is about control. Most rapists say they don’t do it for the sexual pleasure but for the control they feel.

By not seeking help, by not helping yourself to heal, you are only hurting yourself. Don’t let that person control you for the rest of your life. The trauma may have only lasted minutes, or in my case years, but they still have a sort of control over you for so much longer after that. I know in my life it controlled my relationship with my sons father who I loved very much. I never fully trusted him. I wanted to.. but I was deeply afraid that he would leave me, or hurt me. I let the feelings of “i’m not good enough” and “If I did suchandsuch better he would love me enough to want me to be his wife..” etc. It effected our sex life because I was always afraid to make the first move in bed. I couldn’t be the one who initiated sex. It brought back the feelings of insecurity I had from the ex telling me I was a whore and a slut all of the time. I never opened my heart fully to him because I was scared that If I did I would somehow be opening myself up to the pain I felt back then all over again. I never once thought that he would ever do something like that to me.. but because of my past I couldn’t make the fear go away. I was consumed with irrational thoughts.

To this day I push away the people I love once things get too serious and I realize that they might be going somewhere. Why? I don’t know really.. but I know it’s related to the fear. I chose that man to be my husband. We said vows in front of 150 people.. family and friends who loved us. He didn’t even wait till after the honeymoon to start his controlling behavior. He started demanding strange things.. like that I leave the door open to the bathroom and brush my teeth in my underwear. He started screaming yelling fights in our honeymoon suite and even out in the streets where people would be looking at us from everywhere. The point is that the man I took vows with.. the one person I thought I could trust and love for the rest of my life.. the person I thought could protect me.. Ended up being the person I needed protection from. That’s something you just don’t get over easily.

If you have been through a rape, trauma, molestation, physical abuse, or anything that was traumatic to you… Please don’t be afraid to seek help. It’s the best thing I could have done for myself. You can’t handle everything yourself. You don’t need to be ashamed or afraid. There are people out there who have been through what you have gone through. You deserve to get better too. Please find a local Therapist who specializes in rape and trauma. It will be the best thing you could possibly do for yourself. You deserve to find yourself again. You deserve to get rid of the fear that controls your life.

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