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Bethany G. Paget

Midwife of words

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healing

Wild Reconciliation

I formerly held very staunch views on forgiveness and reconciliation debacle within in the church. I was told, forgive, FORGIVE, forgive or God will spit you out of his mouth.  Pretty sure that part isn’t true, I don’t imagine God to be a spitter.  In hindsight I did what was told, what I thought the bible said and in my fear based relationship with The Almighty.

As I have grown and shifted in my faith I can no longer see Him as angry and vengeful.  I see him as patient kind and loving.  Therefore knowing the cost of each measure of forgiveness I lay down.  I take my parents for example.  I will forgive them, I believe that.  I also believe that going through this therapeutic healing time will aid in the future forgiveness and that which I have already worked through.

Here’s the clincher with that; I will never be reconciled to them.  They won’t know me in the years to come and unfortunately for them they are missing out on a relationship with their granddaughter because of their abuse, manipulative and toxic ways.  That’s the choice they made when they decided that continuously to abuse us.  It was an incredibly hard choice to make, of course because it’s my blood family.  But they were also hurting Abigail and as her mom it’s my choice to protect her.

I don’t know what this forgiveness path and possibly reconciliation looks like with the rest of the people who have hurt me and the people I have hurt.  I don’t some of those bridges completely burned because these are people that I was once extremely close too.  Some of those people fall into the category of being so toxic that I would not be able to have a healthy reconciliation with.

What I struggle with, and there was a bit of talk about this on twitter last night.  What do you do with those people who were part of your formative growth and heels in the ground faith?  We hurt each other and are all in very different places right now.  I easily can see where some of the relationships fell apart.  I was in the midst of a battle and my sights were set on finding god a new way.  When that didn’t go over well there was a definite schism between me and the majority of my friends.

Forgiveness is hard work. Laying aside those wounds and burdens that I have carried that are becoming too heavy.  I don’t have a “way it works” solution because a prescribed thing only works with medicine.

It’s a daily work of changing my own heart, my own ways and learning what healthy relationships look like.  Then moving forward with that.

The way I have worked out being reconciled is that I am doing everything I can do to heal and be a different mom than I had.  I am raising my daughter to see what unconditional love looks like and how a family that loves above all else looks.

I aim to teach her boundaries daily, that she has bodily autonomy and that she doesn’t always have to follow the directions of adults because their directions aren’t always safe or within her own boundaries.  And yes I did say that.  Children do have the ability to say no to adults.

I also saw reconciliation in another totally opposite today.  I was passing by the mirror and saw my hair in a mess, I am sweaty and I don’t remember if I put deodorant on.  I realized at that moment that “this IS my life” Not that messy hair and stink pits are a lifetime ambition but it’s where I am at right now and I had to reconcile that that morning.

Depression is a life sucking bitch.  But I am not fully believing that it’s going to last, I have hope.  The #darknesspassing hashtag with be around for awhile.  I won’t give up this time even if that means that I am going to one small thing a day till I push through the walls that are inside, the walls that are protecting the root of my pain.

That also applies to my circumstances I believe.  They are really shitty right now.  That could be the depression or the depression could be due in part to my circumstances, either way I am not backing down.  Rather slowing down.  Trying to get all the things done in a week is not likely.  But the eternal circumstances (also meaning the growth I carry) don’t apply to my circumstances.  I can be reconciled to the fact that things are hard but not allow it to pull me under.

I am learning, through my circumstances and changing faith that reconciliation doesn’t always mean that things are going to change (relationships) and that things won’t always be one certain way (life stuff)

That’s where my definition of reconciliation has changed on the plain of forgiveness.  I can forgive and move on but know that I did everything I could in a relationship to either forgive or even rebuild a burnt bridge.  However it doesn’t always mean that the relationship is salvaged or even salvageable.

In my heart I know that I am moving forward in a new way, as my life compass readjusts itself.

That doesn’t always mean that things will look like I think they should and that some relationships may never have a bridge built back but when I know that I am and have done everything I could my heart settles.

As Always,

Bethany

I will stand

 

I write this for my friends who have been sexually abused or assaulted and are afraid to talk about it and the shame it brings.

I write this to tell you that, that shame is not yours to carry, this isn’t your burden. You carry it yes but you did not put it there.

The person who perpetrated against you put it there.

That fear of going to the rape crisis center because you don’t want to talk about it, I walk next to you because I am there right now.

I write this for those who don’t have contact with their blood families because of generational lines of abuse.

I write this for those who have experienced their children being sexually abused.

I write this for those who feel the justice system failed them.

I write this for those who have seen their abusers go to jail.

I write this for the ones who still cannot walk away, because the abuse doesn’t feel or abnormal.

I am sitting with you, you who are still being abused and don’t know what to do.

I write this for those who continue to be abused, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. For those who aren’t sure if what they are living with is abused.

I write this for those that now struggle with chronic health problems because of what trauma does to the body.

You who like me, takes a handful of medications every morning, noon and night just to keep the pain at bay.

I pray for those who are not able to go to therapy.

Those who go weekly and sit on a couch and cry, I know those tears.

I hold the hands of those who have spoken out because they know that bringing it into the light will bring healing.

I also hold the hands of those who don’t want to tell anyone because they are afraid of losing the relationship.

I will walk with you truth bearers, light bringers and those who walk in hope.

I will walk with those still afraid. I will hold your hand as we walk together in through those doors where hope will be sitting at a table of other survivors.

Fearful ones stand up because you are not alone, Not for one minute. The person who hurt you can no longer have that power over you.

I will pick up that sledge hammer with you and knock down those walls of fear that we both carry.

I am with year dear one as you wake up with sheets soaked from nightmare sweats.

I will walk with you, hold your hand and sit on the floor with you.

You are not alone.

As Always,

Bethany

He Wrecked Me

Dear Jeffrey,
I don’t remember meeting you, however you always said you remembered meeting me. I remember our first kiss, your lips and tongue on mine. I wanted it and gave in. Gave into you; all I wanted was for you to love me the way I loved you. I don’t think you were or are capable of that given our current circumstance. She’s 8 Jeffrey, where the fuck have you been for the 4 years. You fucker. I came in like a wrecking ball into your life and really all you did was wreck me. You said to me that nothing would ever tear us apart. You said that to me as we were living in an apartment with no electricity. None of thThis was the beginning of our downward cycle. I thought I was valuable to you, so I believed you.

Now I sit here on a donated, gifted trip watching your daughter sleep I weep. I am remembering you and who I thought you were and who you actually are. I love you but I hate you. I love you because you gave me a daughter, I love you because you loved me in the way that could and gave me what you thought I wanted. I love you because I love you and I probably always will. I hate you because of the abused I indured from you. I hate you because you made me feel like trash and unworthy love. You put me last always. So that’s why I hate you.

Even if Abigail wasn’t 50% you biologically I would love you because you gave me courage (in your twisted way)to leave. I wonder if you caused me to leave on purpose because you knew you could never be the man that Abigail deserves to call daddy. I haven’t even ever thought of that before but maybe you pushed me away on purpose rather than throw me out. Then again it always took someone else to do all of your work for you so I did what you could never do. I left; I may have looked back three or four or a hundred times. I left to give our girl a better life Jeffrey. And you just demolished it; like your father before you, you chose the cowards way out.

As I lied in bed with our daughter last night, breathing in the deep scent of her hair I realized you will probably never know that scent. You’ll never know the scent of her morning breath or the way her genuine kisses of love make your heart go pitter patter.

She misses out on the Father Daughter dance and donuts with dad at her school. She tells her friends that we got divorced because she doesn’t want them to know that your have chosen to not be here. WE have adapted to our lifestyle of mommy and daughter.

You know how I feel about ultimatums but when it comes to Abigail there has to be strict boundaries. Yet I don’t think any of that is possible because at 41 years old you aren’t able to follow through something on your own.

I gave you the chance to stay, clean up and really show me that you are willing to change, for her. For your daughter Jeffrey; the one whose name is tattooed you had tattooed on your home. You don’t deserve t mark her name on your body. You’re not a father, you don’t get to “claim her” like you tried to claim me.
Choosing to be so in and out of her life has been devastating.

You made your choice and I don’t know if it was out guilt or just that you didn’t want to be a father.

Maybe you are/were the great love of my life. Not that I won’t ever find love again but that you were the one who taught me what a relationship is and isn’t. Not that we ever had a relationship that fell on the spectrum of healthy. You showed me how I don’t want to be treated anymore.

I love you because you didn’t chase me, even though I wanted my movie moment. You know how I have always felt about my movie moment.

I never thought that ten years later I would be sitting alone, with our daughter lying inside peacefully asleep and that you wouldn’t be here.

You were always supposed to be here, remember that? I said it in the beginning you told me in the beginning that “nothing would ever tear us apart”

I think several things tore us apart.
Drugs
Selfishness
Physical and Sexual abuse

I didn’t realize how abusive you were until I left.

Now I do.

I really hope someday that you get the help you need and can heal from the abuse you suffered. I may be incredibly angry with you but I have a certain amount of empathy for you. Simply because I know that you were just repeating what you went through when you were younger. However that doesn’t make what you did okay, or excuse the abuse but moving into an empathic place allows me to continue moving forward and healing.

As of this point I haven’t spoken with you in 3 ½ years. That’s when I told you it was all in or all our. You choose out. I cannot change that. I can ease my daughters hurt, answer her questions about you with grace and do the best job as I can to give her the love, nurture and support she needs. This is a hole in her heart where you should be but you don’t belong with us.

I never speak poorly of you to Abigail, when she’s old enough and when the context is right she and I will talk about it. I want her to be able to make her own decisions about who you are and if she wants a relationship with you.
I cannot stop that then but for now I can lie down strict boundaries and protect my girl.

As Always,
Bethany

The Hardest Part

***TRIGGER WARNING, DESCRIPTIONS OF RAPE***

it was October 31, 1999, I was attending my freshman classes and getting used to campus life. Being away from home was like a get out of jail free card and a “what they don’t know won’t hurt them all one.
Once I started college my drinking escalated quickly. I was drinking at least five days a week and would consume a half gallon of vodka in that one night.
I knew I had a problem; I started becoming the drunk who cries and begs God to make it stop. Drinking consumed me. My friends started to worry about me and make comments. I let them go because I was 18 and I could “do what I wanted”
I will admit to making risky choice my when I would drink. I would go home with guys I didn’t know, I’d wake up passed out in unknown places and give my body to whoever wanted it.
On that Halloween night I had decided to dress a disco queen. I was wearing tight black pants and a gold sparkling tank top. When we left to go out that night I felt invincible and on top of the world. It was my first college Halloween and I was sure we were going to have a memory making night.
Besides myself there were four other girls in our party. We went from frat house to frat house drinking at each. I am not sure at what part of the night we decided to go back to a friend’s dorm room. One of his suitemates was a guy named Adam. He always gave me the creeps but there were other people in the room with us so I didn’t feel as uncomfortable.
I did notice that he kept trying to give me more to drink. I knew I had already had plenty and was babying the one I had in my hand. He wouldn’t take no for an answer though.
He left the room 30 minutes after we got there, saying he was going to check on a friend of his. I stayed and drank some more with my friends before I decided it was time to go home. My dorm room was on the other side of the building. I had to walk across and then go up to the fourth floor.
As soon as I turned off the elevator Adam came out of someone’s dorm room. It was almost like he had been waiting for me. Later, after some years went by I realized that I had been set up by not only him but his roommate as well.
He followed me to my door and when I said no that he couldn’t come in he tried to manipulate me by saying “Oh I will only stay a few minutes” or “you look like you need help getting into bed.” I believed him, of course I did. I was drunk. He came in and sat on my bed and tried to listen to me blubber about how I just tried to commit suicide the week before and how lonely I was.
I wonder if that’s when he realized that he would have a challenge. He asked me if he could kiss me and I said no. The next thing I remember is lying on my bed, without someone having sex with me without my consent.
I couldn’t of consented even I wasn’t intoxicated because to me consent was a foreign language and I grew up not understanding what consent was or that I had the right to my own body. I attribute that to growing up being sexually abused.
When it was over he got up and left, left me lying on the bed wondering what had just happened. The first thing I did was take a shower because at that point I didn’t think I had been raped. I just wanted his stench off of me.
It was the next day when talking to a friend that I realized that he had raped me. He set it up with his roommate so he knew where I was and when to start following me.
I never told people about it, it felt like my fault since I had been drinking and I didn’t technically say no. In the coming years I would be in rehab or another hospital and they would talk about how certain behaviors and situations make it more likely to be raped.
I choked when I heard that, because even knowing now that no matter what I am wearing, if I am drinking or invite him in, it does not excuse rape.
Not in the slightest.
He never said another word to me after that. I did find out later from someone who was in the room that his plans that night were “to fuck me.”
It’s been 15 years and I have finally gotten to the point where I don’t think about it as much. Yet when you layer trauma after trauma on top of the human soul and spirit one abuse leads to another. Meaning the way I think about it and how it affects me. I don’t have flashbacks from that rape anymore but when I was raped again two months ago those old lies of it being my fault came back. I couldn’t help but say to myself “well you were drinking again and you invited him in, it cannot be rape”
But it was and it is.
As Always,
Bethany

Pain and being Fatherless

Abigail woke up yesterday morning and one of the first things she said was “I don’t like the letter d. It sounds like d-a-d. My heart dropped when I heard her say that. The look she had on her face spoke more than the words that came out of her mouth.

This conversations happens every once in a awhile and it’s a difficult one. Partially because I have my own opinions of her “father” and it’s hard sometimes to keep my hurt out of the conversation. Because my hurt isn’t her hurt.

She has never really met him. He saw her as a newborn and then again when she was alomst 2. I know she doesn’t remember meeting him, heck half the time she cannot remember his name.

That busts my heart up because I know in her little (almost) eight year old mind and heart that she blames herself and more often than not, me for leaving. She doesn’t know any of the details other than he was making poor choices and chose to leave. I remind her constantly that it isn’t her fault, that he knew that she and I would be better off without him (I don’t tell her that.)

The thing that breaks my heart the most is when she tells me that she lies to her friends about why her dad isn’t here. She goes for either the “my parents are divorced” or recently she told me that she tells her friends he is at work. The shame that she must carry thinking that she had something to do with him not being an active father kills me.

I understand her hurt to a degree. I had a relationship with my father but his abuse cut off any sort of healthy bonding and forming a safe relationship with him. As of this writing I haven’t spoken to my father in five years. I also grew up with a step dad and as much as my mom tried to make it sound like he was a father figure he was just as abusive.

The overwhelming feeling of not having parents is life sucking. Of course a child, or a person at any age is going to blame themselves. It’s human nature to think that if we as people worked hard enough we could make them love us. Especially if they were abusive or absent parents.

I often want to go in the bathroom and sob after these conversations because there really is nothing I can do to change it for her, or for me. I never for one second regret leaving him. His abuse was escalating during the first two months of my pregnany and I had just enough clarity to know that I had to leave or my child would be sucked into our abusive and addicted vortex.

I wanted better for her. Better than I had and better than I knew I could provide for her if I had stayed. Although at the time I had no idea how parenting without a partner would pan out. I just knew I had to go. He wasn’t willing to get clean and sober and had no desire to move out of the crack motel we lived in. I had no intention of bringing a baby into a hostile and drug fueled environment.

He couldn’t see that though. Even though I know deep down that he didn’t want to be a father, he never straight out said it but if I had brought up an abortion he would not have objected.

So I did leave, when I was four months pregnant. From that day until the night I saw him at the hospital we saw each other once. Our phone calls were also few. His anger was so toxic that even though I wanted to try and make it work I knew I couldn’t when he would scream into the phone how much he hated me.

I thought at that point (no I’m not crazy) that it would be easier if he died. Then I wouldn’t have to explain to my girl why her father chose to walk away from her. After she was born and before we left Florida I think we spoke once. After I left and came home to Colorado his presence was sporatic. Weeks and months would go by without contact. He sent money but it was never enough to make ends meet and it was inconsistent.

When I finally decided to file for child support and sole custody (as a safety thing) I thought that at least I would be able to get some sort of support. He however blew everything that child support enforcement was requiring him to do. He never responded to the custody paperwork either.

Evidence started to build within me that he was not going to be someone I could realistically have in her life, regardless of the fact that she is part of him. Weeks and then months and then years would go by without contact. He’d call out of the blue after a year of no contact and expect me to welcome him with open arms and say “it’s okay.”

I could never do that, not to her or me. Honestly it was a struggle for me those first few years. I wanted us to be a family, I prayed and prayed for him constantly. That he would see how much God loves him and that he could choose to walk away from the addiction and be a father. I prayed that he would meet godly men, or find a church……. SOMETHING

Nothing ever changed though and my broken heart from our relationship ending turned into a brokenness over what his actions were doing to her. When she was younger she didn’t say much about it. The hardest part was when we would see dads with their kids and I could sense that she knew something was different about our family.

He stopped calling for a really long time and then the day before her fourth birthday he called out of the blue. With tears and remorse and guilt about how he wasn’t a part of her life. I wanted, at that point so badly to believe his promises. He said he would call 2-3 times a week, start sending money and really be an active part of our lives. He held out hope that we would get back together and be a family.

I so badly wanted to believe that his promises were honest this time, that he wasn’t going to just fade into the background. That night he called Abigail had the sense that it was him on the phone and wanted to talk to him. She did and it hurt. It hurt me because I knew that the minute she spoke to him that her heart was going to fill with the same expectations as mine.

Right away though he flaked. His phone calls were weeks apart, the money he promised to send didn’t always come and usually it was such a measly amount that it didn’t make sense. I wanted so badly to believe that he was different, that he really had seen what his choices were doing to Abigail.

He never did.

I felt like it was time to lie down some boundaries and unfourtunatly ultimatums. Which I do not like. I felt however in this situation it was necessary. So on New Years Day 2011 he called me and I told him that he had a choice to make. He was either all in, which meant moving to Colorado, getting sober and taking care of all of his legal problems so he could start moving forward as well. The other option I gave him was all out. No phone calls, no letters, no money and no contact.

I couldn’t keep allowing him to play with both of our hearts like he was. It was too much for my baby to hold inside her already wounded heart. He of course got angry and told me that she and I should move back to Florida, which let me see that he really wasn’t willing to make any changes to grow up and be a father.

I haven’t heard from him since that conversation. So we are on 3 1/2 years with zero contact from him. His parents started to fade into the background as well even though they had been active parts of her life for the first three years. It felt like a sudden abandonment but as the years have gone by it’s gotten a little easier.

I have my own struggles with him. Processing through the fact that our relationship was in fact abusive and that drugs were the only thing that held our fragile states together in a “relationship”

As Abigail has gotten older though the questions tend to come more frequently and when they do they are usually fraught with tears and sometimes anger at me for leaving. When she said that to me yesterday I realized it was time for a little more detailed conversation. I let her know that it is not her fault that he walked away. I let her know that he is making poor choices and isn’t able to be a father. She said she wants to send him cards and that’s when I decided it was time to gently tell her that I don’t even know where he is.

It was gut wrenching to see her so hurt and to hear her talk about how it hurts her so bad that he isn’t here that she feels like she has to lie. That kind of shame in my eight year old daughter causes a few reactions in me.

Mama bear comes out and is immediately angry that even after eight years he is still breaking our hearts. I have let go of some of my own shame about raising her by myself. I stopped believing the ridiculous statistics about kids raised in a single parent family. A lot of that I believe is because I am finally starting to find my groove as her mother and I know that she is getting those things she needs to build her up.

It’s not always easy and it hurts the most when I see other fathers with their children. However I know that he wouldn’t be that kind of father and that reaffirms in my that walking away was best.

I want more for her, I do. I want her to know the love of an earthy father. One who will choose her, love her and teach her what a healthy relationship with a father looks like.

I do hold out hope that one day I will meet and marry a man that does just that. Being fatherless is a unique pain all on it’s own. I feel slightly thankful that I can tell her I understand becasue I do.

It doesn’t make hearing her ask me these questions about Jeffrey, or to watch her breakdown on the floor sobbing because she misses him, misses someone she doesn’t even know.

I am doing to very best I can to raise her with values and do what I can as her mom to show her she is so loved regardless of her fathers choices. Becasue she deserves to know that it wasn’t her fault. As she gets old I think I will be able to share more freely the rest of the story. I however don’t want to be the mom who bad mouths her ex to their child. My hope is that she will want to learn who he is on her own and when she’s old enough if she wants to find him then ok.

I loved him something fierce for an incredibly long time and held out hope that our family would be reunited. Now I hope for peace for my girl and her being able to absorb the truth.

As Always,

Bethany

It was only a sip

*TRIGGER WARNING*

I had lost my words right?  Everyone heard me say it.  Blogging felt dull and when I did blog it took me 1-2 weeks to get it done and posted.

Then I was raped and spent a week in the hospital and ALL the words, probably other people’s words too started flowing.  I am thankful they let me keep my journal because I wrote so much.

I had a hard time writing about what actually happened and I didn’t want to.

However the poetry, oh the poetry.  I wanted to dance around that my words came back.  I would have except that might have earned me an extra week 🙂

Here is another one I wrote.

One sip

Black as night

Clothes tossed to the side

My soul screams

You took something

My memory

You used my body

I couldn’t fight back

You left me naked on the bathroom floor

Ashamed

Dignity now in the toilet

I remain numb

Indifferent to your choice

Except you did not take my voice

As Always,

Bethany

 

As Always,

Bethany

Then There was Hope and Portland

If you have been reading my blog than you know that the last three weeks have been painful; no one expects to be sexually assaulted and after it happened I didn’t know what to expect.

I have said it before that I dealt with my childhood trauma and subsequent adolescent and adult sexual attacks with drugs and alcohol: I refuse to do that this time.  I have amazing support including a great therapist and outpatient resources to help.

Where I’m at internally is a different story.  I have reverted back to my childhood trauma surviving states.  I carry my hyper vigilance with me and if it were a quiver full of arrows and I am ready to shoot the first threat I see.  I jump at every noise and I am scared that he is going to come to the apartment.  So really we need to get away.

A few days after the assault happened I was chatting with one of my dear friends who lives in Portland and she offered us a place to stay for a couple of weeks and food if we could just get there.  To me it seemed like Portland would be a good place to relax and heal and working on getting my bearings straight.  I also eventually want to move to Portland so this was the perfect time also to go check things out.

I started looking at the tickets to take the Greyhound and they were $247 round trip.  I told Rachel there was no way I could afford that and that I was going to start praying for money to fall from the sky.  I was admitted to the hospital that afternoon and lost touch with everyone however when I was discharged a week later I found out she had raised $205 plus another $80 from a friend of mine.

Now I honestly don’t know who these loving, blissful people are but they have gone above and beyond what my heart could have imagined.  I feel loved, so loved.  Abigail and I have been loved like this before but this feels different for some reason.  Maybe because I am still struggling so much with the sexual assault and I suddenly think that everyone around me can see it on my face.

As we were talking last night and she shared with me the final details with me I was blown away.   The giving from these people that don’t know me at all gave of their hearts so Abigail and I can have some rest.

We leave next Wednesday the 18th for Portland and will be there until the 27th and then we are going to drive with her and her son to White Fish Montana and stay there for a week ish, then come home.  I am ecstatic.  I have never in my life taken a spur of the moment trip like this, especially one that is fully about relaxing, healing, front porch sitting and dreadlock fixing.  I am excited about getting away from Colorado for a little bit.  I am getting serious cabin fever and every time I am home I remember when happened (that which I am able to remember)

From my heart I also believe a little bit that getting away is my own kind of vindication and justice.  Since there is nothing in the judicial system they can do here (all evidence is circumstantial) from the beginning my going forward was about empowerment.  Empowerment for me in this rape to “NO, what you did was 100%; it was also about all of the other abuse I have gone through.  And though they weren’t there to investigate that, going forward gave me the voice to say to each and every person that took something from me abusively that what they did was wrong and that I was going to start standing up for myself.  Since there is no prosecution for any of those cases I am taking care of myself and my girl, taking control back of our lives and taking us somewhere healthy.

I do realize that when I come back that everything will still be here but like my therapist says if I take care of me and my (*Parts) first then everything else falls into place easier, even with and for Abigail.  She’s been off kilter as well.  It’s usually because we are bound together so tightly spiritually that she knows I’m off balance before I do.  My going into the hospital was incredible tragic to her.  She didn’t know where I was or what was going on.

All I could say was that “Mommy went to the hospital so she could get better and be a better mommy and a better Bethany.”  She hardly asked any questions but that’s how she is.  The silent type, when it gets to be too much she explodes.  That’s why I am hoping Portland will be good; there will be things for us to do.  We won’t be stuck in the house all day AND there will be other kids for her to play with.

The clincher is that when we get to Montana there will be horses.  That is pretty much all I had to say and she started drooling.

If you are reading this and are one of the people who contributed THANK YOU.  Your love is very clearly felt and I appreciate this gift deeply.

I can already feel like a transformation is going to happen.

As Always,

Bethany

Don’t Worry it Wasn’t Zombies

When I wrote the two posts about how I was drugged and raped (mine and the one for Micah’s blog) I did it because I honestly needed my community to know so they could stand beside and support me.  I didn’t realize that it would be like opening a Pandora’s box of vulnerability and added emotion within my soul that would shatter me.  I later described as taking the bandages off of an infected gunshot wound and having all of the pus come pouring out.

I have an extremely detailed trauma history which includes sexual abuse and repeated rapes.  So being raped again brought back each and every memory in the form of anxiety attacks and flashbacks.  I was entirely numb the first week after it happened, a defense for which I am now thankful for.  The terror came when the #yesallwomen trend hit twitter that Saturday night and the reality of what happened sunk in to a place in me that I was unable to handle.

By Sunday, which was eight days later I knew in my gut that I needed to report what had happened.  I couldn’t bear the thought of him doing this to another woman and not getting caught.  I had amazing support and without that I do not that I would have been able to make it through the reporting processes.  It is incredibly painful to share the story of what happened multiple times.  I left with several different resources and a prescription for Ativan for anxiety.

The new week started and I was trying my best to hang onto reality but I couldn’t.  Not that I was losing perception of whom and where I was rather the anxiety and flashbacks were so bad that I was dissociating nearly every day.  I was trying my best to take care of not only myself but Abigail too.  The issue lied in me telling her that it’s okay that she can have ice cream for breakfast.  I wasn’t eating or getting off the couch except to go to the bathroom.

That Tuesday night the 27th I didn’t sleep at all, I tried called the RAAIN hotline at 2am and it was busy (which made me sad) I was in the midst of a constant anxiety attack and the flashbacks were hitting me one after another.  That morning after Abigail got on the bus I tried to rationalize that I was okay to stay home.  I called my therapist because I needed someone to tell me what to do.  My decision making skills were nil by that point and fear and flashbacks had taken over my body.

I finally decided that I needed to check into the psychiatric hospital.  Not because I was suicidal.  I have been down that road way too many times.  It hurts too many people.  I had to go because I absolutely could not take care of myself or Abigail and that was scaring me.  I have no one in my life that can be a back up parent and if I am not at 100% she suffers.  So I went in, did an intake and by 530 last Wednesday night I was a patient at Highlands Behavioral Health.

I felt major shame in being admitted back into a mental health facility.  It had been since early 2005 since I had needed that level of care.  I also was carrying shame about the rape.  There was shame and anger that right now he is out living life while I was behind locked doors.  I was away from my daughter and only able to make phone calls at certain times.  I felt guilty that she didn’t know that my friend was picking her up from school early and she was expecting me.  My friend has two little girls but I know that once she settled in it did get better.

With all that I knew I was in the right place.  The psychiatrist was able to start adjusting some of my medications, taking me off of the ones I really did not need to be on that are ineffective and putting me on some that help with panic, anxiety and flashbacks.

The hospital isn’t too bad.  I mean despite the fact that you cannot have strings on your pants, your own hair and body products and the worst……. No pens.  Pencils only and they were the stubby little golf pencils.  I know why they make those rules.  It is for safety and usually because someone has tried something with say a pen so now we a relegated to golf pencils.

There are always people that become fast friends because everyone is in such a raw vulnerable spot.  I believe that can be a good thing.  It gives each client someone other than their psychiatrist or therapist to talk to and sometimes the clients, having been through similar things can offer a different perspective and a different kind of hope.

The staff was amazing, by far the kindest of any hospital I have been in they knew what had happened and showed a level of empathy that I needed.  The stigma I felt attached to me being in the hospital was that I had slipped back to old Bethany.  However I know that if I hadn’t admitted myself I would have made choices that would have affected both Abigail and I and I am not willing to make those choices.

I said in a facebook status right after it happened that I have never dealt with a rape or my sexual abuse sober or without resorting to some sort of self destructive behavior.  This time I am feeling every.single.feeling. that pushes it’s way in and flows over my body like a tidal wave.  When I talk about it I am still very detached from how much it hurts.  Yet five minutes later I’ll be overcome by a wave of emotion and break down on the floor sobbing.

I know that all of these emotions are okay, and expected to be felt.  Checking into to hospital was the best thing I could have done.  I was able to get my medication figured out which was really nice because my doctor at Kaiser doesn’t seem to have the time to that.

I honestly do not know what is next.  There isn’t enough direct evidence to charge him, it’s all circumstantial.  The detective in charge of the case said it’ll stay a deactivated case meaning it can be reopened at any time if anything suspicious pops up.  That also gives both Abigail and I access to the crime victim compensation fund.

That’s where things stand now.  I am working each day on just doing the next right thing.  Sometimes that’s hour by hour, sometimes I can go longer.  I have great outpatient support and I am not going to let this take me down.

That bastard doesn’t get to have the final say.

 

As Always,

Bethany

Because I Didn’t Believe I’d be Raped Again

I met Micah through the internet’s.  His emerging views of the church and the story of his breakaway we’re a comfort to me as I sought my own freedom.  We became friends and banter about on facebook.  His lovely wife is one of my best friends and has a goal of teaching me of teaching me to climb a tree!!  It’s our hope for the summer.

It’s an honor to be sharing at his place.

This is the second time I’ve written about this. The first time was a few days ago. But the words didn’t sound right. They sounded, honestly like someone who has been scripted to talk about abuse in a nonchalant way. That is how I speak of much of my trauma and experiences that I have had in light of simply having breasts and a vagina.

The story that belongs to #YesAllWomen is all of our stories. I do not know a single woman alive who hasn’t experienced something on the spectrum of harassment, stalking, abuse, rape, or even death. Not one of our stories is identical, yet as women we are all intrinsically bound. Our stories are unique to us but with the power of speaking out and sharing our experiences we can stand together and say “ME TOO.”

Come Read The Rest over here

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fredemptionpictures.com%2F2014%2F05%2F28%2Fyesallwomen-a-victim-again%2F&h=FAQHu58In

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