invincible summers

in the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer. (albert camus)

it’s not/what you thought/when you first began it June 5, 2009

it’s not/what you thought/when you first began it…
lyrics from Aimee Mann’s “Wise Up”
from one of my favorite songs and film, Magnolia.

my absence is not due simply to work (i’m finished and broke again) or negative attacks. it’s also simply (and i hope i don’t offend anyone but if I do, I apologize in advance….) I need to take of ME.

21 years ago around this time, i was raped. as my regular readers know, it was so brutal, i blocked it from my mind for nearly four years until something triggered it. then, at 19, i began traveling a road of escapism, addictive behaviors, etc. along the way I was diagnosed with just about every ‘mental illness’ out there…first depression, then double depression, then borderline personality disorder and lastly bipolar. I’ve been on numerous psychiatric medications all of my adult life.

and now, as I’m about to turn 36 next week, i have realized (with the help of some dear friends and readers…you know who you are and I am eternally grateful to you!!!) that it’s not what i thought when i first began it. for the majority of my life, i wanted to BELIEVE I had a mental illness. i took the pills. i spent tens of thousands in medical bills…saw the most expensive psychiatrists, therapists, etc….none of whom never understood me nor cared to. a waste of money and time to say the least, but a lesson learned and I grew from it. that’s what life is about….

I have been reading Peter Levine’s Healing Trauma and of course I have realized that the symptoms of many ‘mental illnesses’ are absolutely 100% identical to the symptoms of trauma. and I have a lot of trauma in my life, not just the brutal rape. The obvious cases of trauma being war, sexual abuse, physical or mental abuse, loss of a loved one, etc. But I was surprised by the lesser known cases of trauma and I encourage you to read his book if you haven’t already or one similar.

while working on a job recently, a girl turned me onto a beautiful center here in town. it’s a sexual assault center. my first appointment was earlier this week. i nervously walked in and was immediately overwhelmed by a beautiful, caring and loving energy unlike anything I have ever experienced at a place like this before. i will get more into it at another time, but let me just say, it is a wonderful place. and i received a grant so my first 8 sessions are free, after that, sliding scale. not sure how i’ll afford it then, but I will find a way. what matters here is: these people CARE. they do not medicate you. they HEAL you.

during my first session i did 90% of the talking (not uncommon during a first visit) but when my therapist was able to get a word in she brought up dissociation and a form of esp…something I will also get into at another time. (my intuition has grown much stronger over the years and she explained why) but as i sat in her office staring at the toys, the window covered with children’s artwork and drawings…i cried….tears of joy and sadness. through the window I could see children doing their ‘play therapy’ in the beautiful yard. i cried because i wish i had that experience earlier (but have also learned there are no regrets in life, at least that’s my belief) and i cried tears of sadness knowing what these children have been through.

i made it very clear to my therapist, i am anti-meds in my case. especially after 20 years of the meds making me sicker and masking the real issue: trauma. luckily, she is too. i told her the meds I’ve been on that I can remember: Seroquel, Abilify, Paxil, Prozac, Lamictal, Effexor, Celexa, etc. she told me i’d be surprised to know how many young children come in to see her who are on 6-8 meds and it saddens her. i told her i am fully aware of the child bipolar, etc. epidemic. i told her it angers and saddens me. HOWEVER, my dear how it was refreshing to see a place like this where children are loved and nurtured. they are not medicated. my therapist believes fully in creativity and I could see it everywhere. I didn’t see a diploma in her office but instead toys and books and games. even though i know she has a degree…that doesn’t matter. what matters is her heart and what this center is doing.

anyway, i don’t have much energy for more right now. (i haven’t had any energy lately and my mind has been numb) i will end by saying…i am so thankful for this opportunity and i KNOW it’s going to work. i also know it won’t be easy. and so, I haven’t been reading blogs, the news, etc…like I normally do because I’m focusing on me right now. I must do so in order to heal. I have also been escaping by playing games but I believe that is a result of 2 months of non-stop work and the nature of this therapy I’m receiving. That escapism will end as I get further along in therapy.

and in the end….i will hopefully be free of 21 long years of trauma and paralyzing pain.

my love to you all.

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5 Responses to “it’s not/what you thought/when you first began it”

  1. giannakali Says:

    great to hear from you clementine…much love to you…and you’re right…you WILL heal.

  2. anonymous Says:

    Five Beginning Steps for Dealing with Trauma
    http://psychcentral.com/library/id243.html

  3. Van Says:

    It’s great to see you clementine. You need to take care of you, just reach out if you need anything!

  4. Kellen Says:

    You are so brave and I’m so happy you have escaped the “mental illness” trap. I’m a therapist and I have so many clients who are medicated for simply having emotions. Their trauma is “diagnosed” and they are assigned a “disorder” and told there is something wrong with them which is genetic and which they will have for the rest of their lives. Then they are medicated into oblivion. They go back to the doctor and tell him or her that they are still suffering and the doc only changes their meds or increases the dose until they are wondering around in a blind stupor. It pains me to see intelligent, creative, courageous people wandering around in a drug induced stupor.

    I’m currently working with a client (whose information here will be fictionalized to protect her privacy). She lived with serious sexual molestation as a child, delved into heavy, heavy substance abuse to kill the pain and repeated her trauma by prostituting herself. She ended up in a coma for several months and almost died. When she woke up she was diagnosed with every “mental illness” you can imagine, but no one addressed the pain of her sexual molestation and abuse. We’ve been working for almost 2 years and her psychiatrist has keep her almost bombed out of her mind on psych meds. She not only lost her emotions, but her art.

    Recently she suddenly chose, on her own, to just stop the meds and to have the emotions rather than numb them. Of course she is feeling everything, but she is hanging in there and hanging on. She is fighting to get herself back. And she is one of my heroes. She has gotten not only her feelings back, but her art. She has also recovered the relationship with her children which she had lost, first through drugs, then through psych “drugs”.

    I wish you could see the light in her eyes and the determination in her heart. She has her self respect back, and her emotions, and her children and her art.

    Please hang in there. I cannot speak from personal experience, only from what I have seen and from what the courageous and amazing people I work with tell me. But they have all told me it is worth the fight. To come out on the other side whole, a survivor, intact despite what was done to try to destroy you. They tell me it is worth the battle.

    And you are worth it.

  5. clementine Says:

    kellen,

    i wish i had the words. i don’t although i’m about to attempt a blog update. for now I will keep it simple, thank you. thank you. thank you.


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