It’s been a few days since the death of Robin Williams. His passing is still on my mind. I have to admit that I was sad to hear the news that he took his own life. I can’t say I was surprised that he did though. It was obvious for decades that he was a troubled man. There was always a sadness about him even through all that laughter. The cliche, “If you have to laugh or cry, you may as well laugh” comes to mind.
I am seeing too many judging comments referring to Robin Williams and his millions of dollars, his fame and issues with drugs throughout his life. What do these comments mean? His battle with depression was his fault? That he shouldn’t have had any mental health issues? Are mental health issues, including depression symptoms of the poor and unknown? I don’t think so. It seems that having money and fame can make problems exponentially worse. The pressure from the public to stay entertaining must have been overwhelming. The world watches with scathing scrutiny almost waiting for a reason to pass judgement.
What about that global perspective? Aren’t there so many other huge and more important issues happening that we should focus on? (wars, natural disaster, political mayhem, financial chaos) Why should we stop and mourn the loss of this one man? A comedian and actor? Big deal right? Another troubled, rich Hollywood legend dies. So what? I’ll tell you what- Robin William’s death has been a huge catalyst in the discussion of mental health and the lack of support both in life and after death. The “choice” he made was in a place of dark despair. There is so much judgement around a famous millionaire who just didn’t do what? Suck it up? Get help? Heal? Can you imagine the millions in the planet feeling similarly to him but without the resources? So many (especially men) are told to “soldier up”, be a Man, don’t be a pussy! What are you crying for? Emotions on the surface are dangerous so are buried and hidden behind a joke and a smile. And smile and joke he did.
If only for a short time, the world is talking about mental health issues and how much more can be done for those that are suffering everyday. Compassion instead of judgment is what will be so, so important.
There are so many wars, natural disasters and rampant disease on this planet. Of course we should care for the thousands each day that could use a hand up and an extra hug. The survivors of these horrible situations live with all kinds of issues like PTSD, depression, anxiety for starters. Is there proper counseling and resources for them? Probably not. How many will commit suicide? Perspective does matter. Love for those that can’t help themselves matters. Even famous, talented, made us laugh til we peed millionaires.
I have been processing some major energy shifts lately in the past few months. It’s left me feeling ungrounded and more than a little scatterbrained and exhausted. I’m trying to work with the flow of all this. I know I’ll end up in a much better place but there are moments when this push towards where I’m supposed to be can be painful.
I’ve been letting go of expectations and enjoying the moment more. I’ve been much more willing to see my flaws and able to observe them without all the judgement on myself. My energy has been moving to a place of openness with everyone around me. That has meant that I have been much less filtered and even less willing to apologize for it. I feel that if I’m being authentic there is nothing to apologize for. I have spent so much of my life trying to keep everyone else happy. I’ve compromised to a point that I ignore my own spirit. I get compromise for family, marriage, career, but I’m pretty done with making myself unhappy so that everyone around me doesn’t have to consider how I feel. That being said, I have had a lifetime to allow this to happen to me. My responsibility to myself is just that, mine. If I don’t speak up, assert myself or worse, throw myself under the bus to maintain the lane of lease resistance, I affirm my own willingness to put myself last. I have to stop this. NOW.
People ask me how I’m able to move forward after being abused for so many years. Some people have actually expressed anger and frustration that I am no longer angry and silently wishing some horrible tragedy befall my abuser. “They don’t deserve to be forgiven” or similar statements are made in a blurted out emotional declaration. At the end of the day, I needed to forgive. I needed to move on. Having that kind of anxiety and pain stored in my body was exhausting. I had so many triggers around certain types of clothing, sex, trusting others around my own kids, being able to treat myself well and not feel guilty about it amongst other things. I wanted to be able to let that go. My father was long gone out of my life but with this anxiety and panic still floating though my body made me feel like he could show up unexpectedly. In a way he was. I was tired of it.
What does forgiveness mean to me? What does that look like?
In choosing to not carry around the burden of anger, fear, resentment and anxiety, I was so much more relaxed. This is in no way a “wiping the slate clean” and somehow saying what my father did was ok, it’s just that his choices are not my problem anymore. I can look forward, surround myself with healthy, positive, supportive people. I can make myself the priority that my parents never did. I can love myself enough to let the pain go.
I no longer have to relive my experiences as I discuss or share them. I don’t wonder if my father understands how much he hurt me. I don’t ask questions around why me, what could I have done differently to prevent the abuse, why didn’t he love me. The answers couldn’t possibly make me feel any better about what he did to me. The answers would undoubtedly lead to more questions and none of the answers would help me heal or lead to a place that I would feel loved or supported. I had to do that for myself. I found a positive energy about what happened to me and that lies in the fact that I was strong enough to charge my father, move on in my life (with a lot of support and therapy) to a place that I don’t live in fear and am willing to be open with people. I am still working on putting myself first and loving myself enough to not put other’s agendas ahead of my own, but I’ll get there. Forgiving my father has allowed me to enjoy who I have become despite the abuse he put me through.
Now that I am 40 years old, I find myself enjoying the who I have become without asking for permission to be who I am. It’s a great feeling.
I wish I could go back and extract some of my moments of clarity from my internal dialogue. I find these wonderful moments of peace and want to share how I came to my realization in a coherent way.
I’ve been doing some work with consciously connecting with the energy of my lower chakras lately. Focusing on my place on this planet, who I am to those that I engage with, who I am to myself are primary topics to explore. I have to admit, I’ve been struggling with these things over the last long while. I have come to the simplest of conclusions that has brought me a lot of calm.
I don’t need the answers to all my questions right NOW. I can let life pause for a while and enjoy what I do have and not worry about all the unanswered questions. What is my purpose on this planet? What path do I take to fulfill that purpose? How do I integrate all the priorities in my life in a healthy, balanced way? In desperately trying to answer these questions, I created unnecessary stress and found myself overwhelmed by constantly thinking I was missing something. I have decided that these answers are probably not meant for me to know at this exact moment. I have a bunch of ideas floating around in my mind but they haven’t gelled to form a cohesive plan or form. That’s ok. I have decided to be happy with this current reality.
I am enough. I am an ever evolving, loving, open person willing to let things flow. I have everything I need in this moment. When I am meant to move forward I’ll see my path clearly and I’ll happily run down it full of life and purpose.
I have been so overwhelmed and grateful to each and every new reader and subscriber to this blog. In recent months I have waded through one of the worst spells with depression in years. I just disappeared inside myself. I was not engaged in my day to day life. I was in total task mode, doing what I needed to do for my family and that’s about it. It was a long, tough Fall. Since Christmas things have shifted in my energy and mindset and I feel like I’m back to me again.
During those long weeks of wondering what the hell was wrong with me, I just unplugged. I was actually worried about myself. I’m used to having a few bad days but then they pass and I feel fine again. I was considering going to my doctor for some different medications but the whole idea of running the gauntlet of drugs sorting out what drug and in what dose made things much worse in my mind. I toughed it out. In toughing it out, I stepped away from almost anything creative, including this blog. I checked in, responded to comments and thanked the universe for allowing me to have this space. It’s been over 3 years of writing this blog. On the very first day from the very first post, all I wanted was to create a space where childhood sexual abuse could be talked about openly with a healing energy. We are not alone and we are not few. It’s a sad reality.
Anyway, I just wanted to get back on here and say hi. My heart is full of gratitude for those that come here, share, support and heal. I feel that I am finding my creative mojo again. I feel like I can open up and move forward feeling a sense of flow instead of being overwhelmed by trying to think of something to write about. Depression sucks. The way each day can feel so long and empty and just bleed into the next without purpose or passion. I’m glad I’ve moved past that and hope I don’t feel that way again for a long, long while.
Thank you to those that have subscribed to Finding Center. It’s inspiring and exciting to be part of a healing journey with all of you. I have so much more to say. That’s a good thing. I’ll be looking forward to sharing with all of you. <3
In recent months I had been struggling to keep my life together. I become overwhelmed with anxiety and basically shut down emotionally so I could cope with the many changes to my schedule and task list in the late summer and fall. I was totally disconnected from the things I was doing even though they were all good things.
Getting my kids homeschooling schedule settled, their hockey and scouting groups settled and trying to keep myself in a healthy frame of mind was tough. I ended up just moving through my task list without really feeling engaged in the moment. Even as I recognized this in myself, I couldn’t figure out how to get centred again. I accepted that I had to step back and get my mental health strong again before I could properly expect myself to write again.
When I would try to force myself to write or do anything creative it basically caused an anxiety attack as I felt so much pressure to write something “good”. It’s not logical, I know. It was just my reality. At this point, I’m feeling better and can move this creative process connected and happy again.
I look forward to getting more active on here again. I miss the writing and connecting with those that have been so wonderful and giving with their personal stories. The subjects around sexual abuse have been tough on here lately but the response has given me so much courage to delve even deeper into them. I’m learning a lot about myself and where I am on my healing journey.
I am deeply grateful to all of you for sharing your stories, commenting and supporting this blog. The conversations will continue. <3
** Warning ** Some of this content is graphic. It may have trigger issues for some. Please read this story only if you are in a good place emotionally.
The sad truth is that I had no idea what was happening to me when my father was molesting me. I was too young and nothing was ever explained. I knew that it shouldn’t be happening and that I was generally scared. I’m realizing now that I have dealt with a lot of disassociating reflexes during sex. I didn’t know that’s what it was, but an internal dialogue in my adult life had me telling myself that I should relax and stay present. I would end up over thinking whether I was doing things “right” or not and still not be able to relax. I also felt guilty after I had an orgasm and felt that I should reciprocate or ensure my partner’s pleasure. I forgot all about my own pleasure and got all task oriented. That’s the way it was when I was a kid. I don’t know how I didn’t look to the present to see how my sexual relationships were effected by my past. I guess I tried to compartmentalize it so much so I didn’t have to think about it in my current relationship. The problem lies in my reflexes, the automatic chain reaction that happens when I’m having sex. When I was a kid I would say and do what was asked of me, when I could my mind would go blank. I would wait for it to be over. I purposely tried to feel NOTHING.
I have heard how sexual abusers have found some satisfaction in acknowledging the orgasm their victim had. Like they did a good thing by making their victim “feel good”. Maybe that’s how they could live with the whole situation if it had the idea of mutual pleasure. This at least would lend to feeling ok with feeling good about the reaction the body has when your stimulated. The pleasure would be the one part you don’t feel bad about. My father said he was going to “teach” me what boys wanted so that I wouldn’t want to have a boyfriend. As it turned out, my “teacher” was both mean and stupid. There was a lot of “my thing” and “your thing” and he did nothing to make me feel normal. When my body shook when I had an orgasm, he would ask if I was ok or “what’s wrong?”. What was wrong was your face is between my legs, I’m scared, now I’m embarrassed and lying to say I’m cold or something so I don’t have to have a discussion about why I’m shaking. The fact is, I don’t know why my body is doing that and I feel gross.
The bottom line on this for me is that if I’m not careful, I disassociate and shut down and specifically try to NOT have an orgasm. There’s a stress trigger that happens and I stop responding to what’s happening in the moment. At least I am aware of this breakdown now and can stay present and enjoy my present experiences. Truly, I am becoming very self aware and am allowing myself to let go of so many limiting beliefs. Recognizing how the abuse effected me has been a huge game changer in my day to day life as I deal with all my relationships. It still boggles my mind that I didn’t put the dissociative reaction related to the sexual abuse with my adult life. What else haven’t I realized yet? It’s a bit scary.
** Warning ** Some of this content is graphic. It may have trigger issues for some. Please read this story if you are in a good place emotionally.
I have had a lot to think about lately. My recent posts have sparked something huge. I realize that there is something that NO ONE is talking about, I’m sure, millions have experienced and haven’t told a soul. The comments from readers have inspired me to expand into areas I never though I would. I thank you all for that. I thank my sister for telling me simply, “write without fear”. Those words were very freeing. I feel like I have found a specific purpose through this blog. I have talked about my sexual abuse, what I went through to move past it, and who I have become since those terrible years. I will continue to do that as it seems to be moving awareness and understanding of what it’s like to be trapped in a situation loaded with fear and intimidation, be used for sexual acts and then treated like garbage. As a kid, these things became normal and I was stuck in a place (my home) that seemed impossible to get out of.
The subject of orgasm during sexual assaults is hugely complex. In a time of tremendous betrayal, pain and abuse, it can seem that your own body has betrayed you by having an orgasm. It’s bad enough society will ask questions of the victim to ensure she didn’t do anything to “deserve” it, but now our own bodies have found an element of pleasure somewhere in all this horror. In feeling that pleasure and simultaneously know that what’s happening to you is not consensual, it adds to the trauma. It’s like having two experiences at once and both of them are out of your control.
Those wonderful people that have read my blog, shared their stories and helped me better understand what happened to me, have thanked me for what I’m writing here. Thank you too. More than you know, in sharing your stories, some for the first time in any manner, has expanded my need to do more for those that are suffering in silence. In creating a place that has made readers feel safe and understood enough to share their experiences, I know that I am not alone. Holding memories of traumatic experiences inside because at the end of it all, in having an orgasm, in having that pleasure, the blame seemed to shift a bit. If people could be educated enough to know that orgasm is not an indication of consent, but simply a biological reaction to physical stimulus, it would be easier to talk about these situations.
Talking more on this subject will help lift that veil of embarrassment and allow ourselves to move forward knowing that we did nothing wrong. I’m still processing all the feelings and thoughts that have been running through my mind since I started discussing this subject of orgasm during sexual abuse. It’s a huge subject with a lot of emotions that run in a lot of directions. Establishing healthy, sexual relationships after abuse is difficult when there is a guilt or shame around experiences that were horrible, and sometimes pleasurable, at the same time. How to relate to your own body if you feel that it betrayed you in those moments of trauma. How to get sexual pleasure within a healthy relationship that doesn’t need a huge amount of adrenaline to reach climax. How to talk to your current partner about the fear and pleasure that got all mixed up in a non consensual situation. How to deal with the possible emotional or physical disorders that invariably show up after trauma. I will, with purpose, try to open the door to these sorts of topics.
These many healing processes that can happen are hugely important. I am not alone. The statistics on the frequency of rapes, sexual assaults and sexual abuse are staggering. How many millions of victims have had to grapple with the fact that they were violated, taken advantage of AND may have enjoyed some part of it, however not intentional? How many?