Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Trevor the tortoise.
"You'll never deal with the fear of change until the fear of staying the same exceeds it." - Barbara Niven
Ever since I've been getting into the nitty-gritty of exploring and beginning to really feel (for the first time) a mix of emotions associated with the childhood sexual abuse and domestic violence I experienced as a child - plus the traumas of a similar nature I've suffered as a consequence, I've become a depressed, terrified, confused, rageful, self-destructive, hypersensitive mess.
Having been brave enough to prevent myself from seeking reassurance from Jan that any lone men I'd encountered on my travels hadn't raped or attacked or contaminated me, was the trigger for these difficult emotions I'd been attempting to escape through the performance of obsessive-compulsive rituals, finally erupting into consciousness: Being as I wasn't compulsively seeking / writing down reassurances that I was safe, I became manic (even talking to myself out loud) in an attempt to distract myself from a backlog of horrific intrusive thoughts of me being fatally attacked or raped.
I questioned my counsellor, T., about whether it was necessary for me to relive the abuse of my past (that I can't change), in order to overcome my OCD / PTSD, but she (and I, deep down), believe that yes; talking through and analysing the experiences that have fuelled these symptoms, and then hopefully being able to set them aside, will enable me to not only survive, but to thrive further down the line.
This is already happening: In a professional sense, I'm going through a period of transition in that I want to find a better-paid and more rewarding job as an artist, musician and writer - or maybe a forensic scientist. Slowly but surely, I'm taking positive steps in this direction and have attracted a deluge of like-minded, interesting followers on social media. On an emotional level, I've had some nightmares involving being taken advantage of, mugged and raped, but instead of ending up being totally defeated by my assailants, I stick up for myself and get away.
For the time being, I feel as if I've regressed a little with regards to doing ERP on my OCDs is concerned: My 'checking the pavement for contaminated needles' OCD has returned, and I've gone back to seeking reassurance from Jan that nobody would've hurt or contaminated me. The good news is, though, that I'm still managing to refrain from writing down these reassurances to myself and I'm not being so hard on myself in trying to make myself work a set amount of hours each day. Brett Larkin's Meditation for Anxiety and Nervous Energy has really helped me to regulate my breathing and to get some sleep when I've needed it.
Despite feeling panicky about leaving the house to go to my allotment (I've been too ill to go into London to work as a musician on the Underground), I've been making myself go because I know that the longer I stay indoors, the harder it will be to go out. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Jan, Manya Zuba, ocdtalk and Josh Langley for rooting for me throughout this dark time.
Last but not least, Jan and I have a new family member; Trevor the Hermann's tortoise who we rescued from a string of 'owners' who'd badly neglected him. He shares my bedroom, gives me a reason to get up in the morning, and it's as if we're both fighting for a better, happier life together. Each time I feed him, my bastard OCD tries its best to convince me that I'm poisoning him, but so far I'm doing a good job of telling it to piss off...