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All posts for the month February, 2018

Published February 28, 2018 by Chloe Madison

I read something today that struck me:

“Most human decisions are made emotionally. Only 3% of emotional cognition is available consciously.”

I remember someone calling me out on making an emotional, yet grave decision. I also remember being confused, thinking that I had logically thought out each and every avenue. This quote brought me back to that. The same issue had been on my mind. I don’t wonder if I’ll ever recover. I know I won’t. I know I won’t lead a normal life. I know I’m too f***ed up for people to love me. Everyone leaves.

I don’t remember what made me think back today to this last Christmas. But I was remembering how I did every thing in my power to try to make myself happy. I decorated my apartment like there was no tomorrow. I used to LOVE Christmas. It has always been my favorite. But it’s lost its magic. No matter how many strands of lights I put up…

I was still there alone in the quiet.

It doesn’t matter that I got a real tree so I could enjoy the smell of freshly cut pine….

I was still alone with my tree.

That was the last time I saw my roommate. She darted in, wouldn’t make eye contact with me, ignored the tree, said nothing about the plethora of Christmas lights, and tried to dart out without even addressing me. I knew she had been told about my nice little hospital stay. I knew she was shunning me- and has continued to do so- because of it. I feel so…

Judged.

Hated

Shunned

Left out

Ignored

Cast away.

Defeated.

So tonight I was thinking about my old friend, ******* again. And I was thinking how logical it is to me- even though no one else understands. And I thought how I wasn’t being emotional- that this wasn’t an irrational decision.

Ugh. I don’t know. I feel beat down, barraged even… For a second this evening I saw an upside down cross in the way some lights played against the outside of a building. The street lights have stopped going off when I walk under them. Now they turn on. That has to be better. It doesn’t scare me. It just makes me feel like it’s already done. Like the battle has already been won, like there’s no use in fighting. I feel so run down anyway- I don’t feel like fighting anything at all, much less something more powerful.

I’m not giving in. Im just thinking.

I hate that people judge me and stay away from me. I hate that my life is so alone. It’s been 9 years. NINE YEARS. I know many victims of sexual abuse wind up being promiscuous or use sex because they were used for it. For some reason, I went the opposite direction. I’m glad I did. I’d feel a lot shittier about myself if I was promiscuous. But I’m the most closed off person ever when it comes to that. I’ve lost loves over it. My ex-fiancée left me and cheated on me because I didn’t want to have sex until after marriage. He didn’t respect that and he didn’t respect me. He pressured me and mocked me and compared me to all his other girlfriends. That’s BS. I should have left him right then and there. I know I’m lucky that I’m not with him. But I am still alone. STILL. I don’t know when it will end. I don’t think a guy would respect me enough to wait until after marriage. I can blame the culture of our day, but aren’t there Christian guys out there with any ounce of respect any more?? I think it’s like believing in a magic unicorn or something- it just doesn’t exist.

That’s why I feel like it’s foolish to wish for it, wait for it, pray for it. It doesn’t exist. People just aren’t good anymore. Maybe back in the day they were- not any more.

The ONLY living thing I connect with is my dog. And he’s a precious, special one at that. I thank God all the time for him. He means so much to me.

I don’t know where I’ll be living in 4 months. I hate that feeling of uncertainty and having your life up in the air. I’m sick of it actually. It’s been 5+ years of moving and moving and not belonging anywhere. It’s been 9 years of being alone. It’s been a lifetime of not trusting my own family members.

Today I watched a portion of Dr. Phil. It sucked. HARD. There was a girl who had been sexually abused by her dad. She made games out of it- just like I did with my neighbor when I was 9. Her dad had the audacity to blame HER, saying she was not only a willing participant, but tempted him and lured him. Omg, I was torn between throwing up and punching my TV screen. He’s sick. I’m stunned that all these years later, he’s trying to blame her. Unbelievable. I had to turn it off. It literally made me ill.

All these things running through my head…..

Defeated.

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Published February 25, 2018 by Chloe Madison

Is there such a thing as spiritual exhaustion? I don’t know how to explain what I’m feeling.

I spent Fri night and all day Sat in a sleeping pill-induced stupor. At least it was slow moving and restful. Today I went to church and for the first time in over a year, I was actually normal. It was so odd! I was ok…I wasn’t scared and intimidated, nor doubting everyone and everything that was said. I was even able to sing from my heart. It felt great. I knew I was a mess, but for a short period of time, I also knew God was good. Until my worship pastor said something about God being a good father…I flinched and immediately felt guilty about my doubt….but what can I do? I sang that song though. And I meant it. I was able to pay attention to my pastor as he preached. Dang, is he talented at what he does. The sermon was very applicable. It was about how we can be so independent that we don’t need help- God’s help. How sometimes our independence gets in the way of us admitting our brokenness and our need for God. He mentioned how we were “designed” to need God. That can explain a lot in our lives. And I was fine for most of the sermon. Then, suddenly and out of nowhere, I started crying again. I can’t even say why. I was just suddenly overwhelmed with an overbearing sadness. It lasted maybe 10-15 minutes and then it left. And I felt normal again and was even able to pay attention again. I don’t know what that was. But today in church was one of the better Sundays I’ve experienced.

I have so much weighing on me. I have no clue where I’ll be living in 4 months. I have stupid hospital bills still to pay. Oh…that reminds me of a very…I don’t know how to explain it…sharp, stabbing (?) truth that my pastor spoke about today. Shame. I hate that word, but it’s been my life for over a year now. I felt it’s weight and all that comes with it from who my father is and the terrible things my family did to cover it up. For months, I tried with my therapist to convince myself that the shame I felt belonged to my father, not me. That it belonged to my family who wronged me, not me. And then came the hospitalization. And I had no idea how devastating and shattering that shame could be. I never thought of it before because I never imagined it would happen. But now I have my own shame to carry in that. It’s mine, not my dad’s nor my family’s. I was the one hospitalized, not them. I’m the one who carries the stigma, no one else. My pastor said that shame is the most devastating of human emotions. I would agree. It makes me feel like I can’t recover. It makes me feel like I’m not good enough and never will be. It makes me understand why people don’t love me and care for me. It makes me understand why my own parents and grandparents didn’t.

I’ve been struggling to breathe under this new shame. Only one person told me that being hospitalized doesn’t define me. I find that so, so hard to believe. I’m trying to cling to that, thinking that I can move on. But, I think I’m only fooling myself. It’s not like I can forget being hospitalized and what it’s done to me. It has literally damaged my psyche. And I’m afraid that’s permanent.

I was afraid the damage done from my perpetrators was permanent. I know God is able to heal. I just don’t understand why he doesn’t. Why does he let people die? Why does he let people suffer? Why doesn’t he heal everyone and show us his love and compassion in that way? Why is it rare that God will do this? I don’t know. And that’s part of why I think praying is useless. God will do what he wants to do. It’s not like you’re going to change his mind! But even with that, and I feel terribly guilty about doubting God’s goodness, I’ve been praying a little lately. I’ve asked God to help me find a safe place to live. I’ve been asking him to take care of my 911 friend and his family. I’ve been asking God to heal my Madagascar friend’s marriage. (They’re good, they just need a little repairing and they’re working on it.) That brings me to another topic. My isolation and lack of connection to people. My Madagascar friend has been writing a little bit every few days to me. He’s shared that he’s in counseling with his wife and he’s shared some of his own weaknesses and struggles. I am so grateful for that. Him being open with me makes me feel connected. It’s given me something (besides myself) to bring before God. I’m so grateful that our friendship is slowly blooming again. I don’t think I’ve seen this guy in 16 years… we went to Madagascar in 2000, I think and we saw each other maybe a year or so after that. I’m grateful that he hasn’t thrown me away as a friend because I was hospitalized. I’m grateful that he still trusts me. He trusts me enough to share his struggles with and not only is that opening a two way street, but like I said, it makes me feel connected to another human being. I can’t believe how much I lack that. It’s unreal.

Published February 22, 2018 by Chloe Madison

I had a horrible nightmare last night. I think I triggered it myself with my previous blog. In my dream, I was hospitalized again and it was absolutely terrible. It was (and still is-my heart is racing as I’m writing this) the feelings that came along in the dream that were the worst.

The only good thing was that my former pastor, Mike, was there. He made a brief appearance and in my dream, he worked in the hospital. He wasn’t much encouragement though. I was asking him if I’d be out in 3 days and he told me that the assessment takes 3 days and THEN your time starts! I was mortified. Obviously, this ties back into the fact that I was hospitalized for way more than the minimum 3 days last time. I also remember being enraged and feeling everything was unfair when I found out that in real life, you don’t even need to stay the minimum of 3 days. They can let you out earlier than that. I was told that the hospital I was at was known for NOT letting people out because it affected them getting paid. I was told that if they didn’t keep people for over the minimum, then they got paid nothing by insurance companies. I find this hard to believe, but it makes sense in that they kept me there despite my protests to leave. F**k that place. I’m so pissed off that I’m still paying them…and the fact that I HAVE to pay them even though I refused to go there!!!

Anyway, the other goofy thing in my dream was that we did ballet. I have to admit that was humorous to me when I woke up. And one bad thing was that some of the same people were there who were there in real life. Someone asked me how the girl was who committed suicide. They didn’t know because they had been locked up and had no contact. I had to break the news that she was now deceased. That was terrible.

Even though my 911 friend doesn’t read here anymore, clearly I’m still feeling a ton of fear related to what I say here. So let me make things clear so I can feel some relief. I HAVE NO BAD PLANS. Am I depressed? Absolutely. Do I think about it? Yes. Do I have plans? No! Absolutely not. There is no need to worry. How about you love on me and not lock me up? Huh? How about that? Why give me fear and nightmares instead of showing me love and compassion? That’s what I need. That’s what any victim needs. No one needs to be fucking locked up against their will. That fucks you up beyond belief.

I’m fine. Am I back and forth in my thoughts? Yes. But I am the farthest I’ve been from doing something in over a year. Over a year! My thoughts really are steering away from that. Maybe that’s not apparent in my writing because I write when I’m most depressed. And yes, I’m most certainly depressed and alone and struggling. No doubt. But I can promise everyone who reads here that I won’t do a thing. Honest…I promise. I have had urges to cut- but that’s it. Nothing beyond that.

I still feel that no matter what I say here, I can still get taken away against my will. I have so much terror from that- I’m not sure I can ever get beyond it. I do know that I have no idea where I will move to when my lease is up, but wherever I go- not a soul will know my new address. I won’t even forward mail. Fuck that. If that’s what I have to do to make myself feel safe again, then I’ll do it.

I doubt I’ll feel safe again though. That fear is always there. Every cop I see, my heart stops. Every time I see flashing lights or hear a siren, my heart stops. And I live across the street from a fire station. This happens all day and all night. I told myself I’d get used to it. Well…it’s been 4 months and my stomach shoots straight up into my throat every time I hear those sirens.

I don’t want to have to live with this fear. This fear that causes nightmares because I wrote a blog and mentioned my thoughts. That’s not right. I had enough fear I was dealing with before. Now, it overrides and overwhelms my life. I used to feel part of the blue brotherhood. Not any more. I’m scared of them now. I stay away. I don’t belong anymore. I wish I could hang with everyone and reminisce about Zack. But I can’t. I don’t belong anymore. And with feeling so isolated and alone before my hospitalization, I surely didn’t need something else to make me feel even more fear and more isolation. Fuck that.

Published February 22, 2018 by Chloe Madison

I am so fucking miserable. I have a terrible headache and I generally feel like shit. No energy. Not even to write..

Today I wept multiple times. I held my dog and looked him in his eyes and begged him to never leave me. I told him l loved him and I’d take care of him forever. I know that’s a lie though. One day, I’ll have to go through the excruciating pain of having to put him down.

He’s the ONLY thing I have in this fucked up life. No one understands that. No one understands what it’s like to go home every day to an empty house, to eat every single meal alone, to talk to no one but myself. I used to have a few friends but they’re all too busy. I have nothing and no one. I am nothing and no one.

I went to church on Sunday and was almost immediately overcome by sadness. I cried there again. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. For a few days there, I was going to abandon my desert plans for spring break. Now I’m back to them.

I remember my pastor did a great sermon that day, but now I can’t remember what it was about. I think it had something to do with- when there are bad times, God still works where you are? I’m not sure if that’s right, but I think it was something like that. That God can still use you even when you’re a mess and everything in life seems like a mess. Obviously, it resonated with me. I thought of the young people I work with. I thought of how 3 of them have come to me this year sharing their stories of having been raped. I wondered why God was doing that. How can I help them when I can’t even help myself? How can I encourage them when I don’t believe my own life will ever get better? How can I inspire them when I’m beyond ready to permanently call it quits?

After finding out that 22% of the young people I work with have been sexually assaulted, I struggled to find what I could do to help them. How could I support them? I refuse to just let them go unsupported and unloved. Not only would that be cruel, it would be negligent (imho). We created a visual of the 22%. It came out looking like more because they wanted to honor those whom they knew who had also been assaulted. Here is what we made:

It’s just post-it notes. The lighter color represents a kid who has never experienced and doesn’t know anyone who’s been sexually assaulted in some way. The darker ones represent a kid who has been sexually assaulted or who knows someone. On their post-it note, wrote their gender and their age when it occurred. That way, they could be represented without losing their anonymity. If they made a post-it note to represent someone they knew, then they wrote their relation on it, also maintaining anonymity. Some kids told me they were ok with writing their names…but I want to make sure they’re protected. So I explained that even though they were incredibly brave, I thought it would be safer to not do that.

I still needed to support these kids. The truth is God gave them to me to take care of and to love. I’m going to do that until the day I die. We brainstormed about how we could support each other without knowing who the victims actually were. One idea was to hear their stories. They wanted people who had been violated to write out their stories so we could read them. If we do that, it will be done on a voluntary basis. Some might not be ready to share their stories for years. Another idea was for everyone to write a letter of support and encouragement to those who had been violated. These are some of the letters:

I salute everyone for their compassion in reaching out to others who have been hurt. I want to copy all of these letters and somehow get a stack of these to each person who has been sexually assaulted. Some might not be ready to read them right away. Some might keep them and read them whenever they feel lonely or sad. Some might read them over and over. I remember my 911 friend was super encouraging to me multiple times. Occasionally, when I feel terrible, I’ll go back and find his text that said “you’re not alone” over and over again. Occasionally, I’ll also listen to a prayer he recorded. That really calms me and helps me fall asleep. 😂 It’s just so calming that I usually don’t hear the end of it…I must be asleep by then. But I was hoping that these letters of support are something the kids could keep and pull out to read again whenever they feel they need it.

Speaking of sleep, last night was the first night in over a year and a half that I slept through the night!! Ok, I didn’t exactly sleep all the way through…I woke up twice, but promptly fell right back asleep. I couldn’t believe it when my alarm actually woke me up this morning. I was shocked. I still felt exhausted as hell, but I slept. Whoa. I’m pretty sure lack of sleep is part of why my brain has turned to mush.

Back to my kids, I don’t know what else I can do to help them. I went to my boss and asked for support for them and I made connections with free counseling and therapy options for them as well. But if they’re anything like me, not only will they need a huge push, but they’ll need more. I’ve offered myself to be there for them if they ever need to talk. And many of them offered themselves in their letters- they even gave contact info. I’m going to try to keep thinking for them- to see what else I can do to help them. What my pastor talked about- God using us in the midst of our own pain and suffering- it made me think of these kids. I’ll do what I can to help them, but I don’t think it will ever be enough.

I feel guilty for wanting to give up. What would that look like to those kids? They don’t even know my story. They wouldn’t understand why I did something like that. And that brings me back to the “lost hiker” thing I’d probably run with. That way, no one would truly know.

That kind of parallels my life anyway. So few really know me and my story. The few who do have a tendency to either walk out or give up on me. I’d give up on me too- I’m surely NOT placing blame. I appreciate EVERY LITTLE THING that’s been done to help me. It means the world to me. It’s stopped me in my tracks and made me second guess myself so many times (in a healthy way). But eventually it wears thin and runs out. No one can sustain another forever. I think that’s why I don’t have a significant other. I know no one can handle this giant mess that is me. It’s not fair to expect anyone to.

I have someone who’s been casually pursuing me for a while now. First of all, just the fact that it’s casual makes me feel unimportant. Second, it is long distance. He lives across the country and our communication is sporadic at best. Additionally, just when we were about to have a deep conversation (prompted by me), he dipped out. Like…literally ran out!! 😂 I kid you not. We were having a beer and as soon as the conversation turned heavy, he jumped up out of his seat, got the bill and paid for it and said we were moving down the block to a restaurant to go eat. I remember thinking…wow. I need someone with a backbone who can handle this stuff. I need someone who can actually be there for me. I don’t need someone who’s going to run when conversation turns heavy. Am I being too cut and dry thinking like that? Am I expecting too much? I mean, this is someone I’ve known since we were teenagers…it’s not like we’re in the “getting to know you” phase.

This just makes me feel he’s not the one…or maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m not ready to be in a relationship. For a while now, I’ve thought that I would be useless in a relationship…that I’m empty and I have nothing to offer, nothing to give. I had already kind of decided I just wasn’t in a space where I was relationship material. I’m still thinking that way.

I’m useless to everyone.

Everyone.

FTL. I don’t want God to be mad at me. And I’m so, so thankful for when I see God working in my life or in others’ lives… but FTL. I am so over it.

Published February 19, 2018 by Chloe Madison

World So Cold

Mudvayne

When passion’s lost and all the trust is gone,

Way too far, for way too long

Children crying, cast out and neglected,

Only in a world so cold, only in a world this cold

Hold the hand of your best friend, look into their eyes,

Then watch them drift away

Some might say, we’ve done the wrong things,

For way too long, for way too long

Fever inside the storm,

So I’m turning away,

Away from the name

(calling your names)

Away from the stones

(throw sticks and stones)

‘Cause I’m through mending the wounds of us

Keep your thorns

‘Cause I’m running away,

Away from the games

(f***ing head games)

Away from the space

(hate this head space)

The circumstances of a world so cold

Burning whispers, remind me of the days,

I was left alone, in a world this cold

Guilty of the same things, provoked by the cause,

I’ve left alone, in a world so cold

Fever inside the storm,

So I’m turning away,

Away from the name

(calling your names)

Away from the stones

(throw sticks and stones)

‘Cause I’m through mending the wounds of us

Keep your thorns,

‘Cause I’m running away,

Away from the games

(f***ing head games)

Away from the space

(hate this head space)

The circumstances of a world so cold

I’m flying, I’m flying away,

Away from the names

(calling your names)

Away from the games

(f***ing head games)

The circumstances of a world so cold

Why does everyone feel like my enemy,

Don’t want any part of depression or darkness, I’ve had enough,

Sick and tired, bring the sun, or I’m gone, or I’m gone

I’m backing out, I’m no pawn,

No mother-f***ing slave to this,

Never lied

Never left

Never lived

Never loved

Never lost

Never hurt

Never worry about being me, or anyone else

Not a care, no concern, don’t give a sh*t about anything,

Backing out, giving up, no mother-f***ing slave to this,

Never lied

Never left

Never lived

Never loved

Never lost

Never hurt

Never worry about being me, or anyone else

Not a care, no concern, don’t give a sh*t about anything,

I need to find a darkened corner,

A lightless corner,

Where it’s safer and calmer,

I’m turning away,

Away from the name

(calling your names)

Away from the stones

(throw sticks and stones)

‘Cause I’m through mending the wounds of us

I’m running away,

Away from the games

(f***ing head games)

Away from the space

(hate this head space)

The circumstances of a world so cold

I’m flying, I’m flying away,

Away from the names

(calling your names)

Away from the games

(f***ing head games)

The circumstances of a world so cold