safety

All posts tagged safety

Published November 26, 2017 by Chloe Madison

Stop for a minute and think. Imagine your life with no one. Imagine not having your spouse, your children. There are no family members living close by. No brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, or uncles anywhere close. Seriously…stop and try to imagine this for your life. Years and years and years pass by…and you’re all alone. Every day. Every night. Every weekend. Can you even imagine this for your life?

This is mine. And it’s ok except for the fact that I’ve recently lost a few friendships. But this is why those friendships are so vital to my life. IT’S ALL I HAVE. Yes, you can say I have a relationship with God. But for living, breathing human beings…friendships are all I have. And I surely don’t have that many of them. I’m super shy so making new friends is near impossible and I have such a difficult time trusting people. I was just ruminating with a friend over how every single one of my relationships (boyfriends) was someone who was very outgoing. And when I was young I realized those were the only guys bold enough to strike up a conversation with someone as shy as myself.

Anyway, the point is that I’ve been racking my brain over what I can do to salvage my friendships and not sabotage them anymore. I need them. And those people all deserve better too. It’s not just for me. I want to be a better person and a better friend. That’s what made me start researching how PTSD affects relationships. It’s something I’ll be working on and I can only pray that my friends will be gracious and patient with me as I flounder my way through this. I’ve been so distressed over this one issue lately. I’ll probably continue to write about this because I’ve been tormented over the loss of these friends and I very much fear losing any more. I’m terrified of it actually. They’re all I have in this world.

____________________

The last picture I put up on my Facebook is so disturbing to me. My sister-in-law took a picture of me holding my nephew, but it was right after I had two intense breakdowns. I’d cried for hours at this point. I was so out of it. My eyes are vacant and hollow. My nose is red from crying. My face is so downtrodden with sadness. I actually hate myself in that picture, but the baby is so precious that I decided to put it up. People commented on how that’s a moment to cherish…smh. No one knows. No one understands. I feel so disconnected.

__________________

Nightmares have increased exponentially since I got out. They’re just about every other night now. And what used to be rare (continuing a dream after waking up from it and going back to sleep) is now commonplace. Gah…why does it have to be the nightmares that continue? I’m pretty good at analyzing my dreams and figuring out what my brain was trying to process. Lately, many of the nightmares have been from being locked up against my will. I was terrified and still am terrified that it can happen again at any moment.

There have been some weird nightmares though that I can’t quite figure out what they’re from. One is of me getting shot. I can’t remember the whole dream- only a sliver of it. I’m in a crowd of people and someone open fires into the crowd. A man is shot next to me and he falls on top of me, burying my face. He’s dead and is laying face up on top of my upper chest and face. I almost feel suffocated because I can’t breathe. But then I realize the shooter is still shooting so I freeze instead of trying to free myself. The shooter goes quiet. He’s taken the entire crowd down. He decides to open fire one last time on everyone laying on the floor- just to make sure everyone’s dead. This is when I get shot in the stomach. I feel the burn and sting of the bullet and my body contracts a little as the bullet enters. I wake up a moment after that. I’d go back to sleep and dream it again. I have no idea where this particular nightmare is coming from or what my brain might be trying to process. But like all my nightmares, I wake up with my heart beating out of my chest, drenched in sweat, and I can’t catch my breath.

Then there’s the creepy cult nightmare. There’s a cult that’s taken over this little town I live in and they dictate everything…right down to the food you eat. For some reason, I was suspicious about their food and didn’t want to eat it. So I didn’t. I knew the penalty was death. They would try to coerce you into eating and if you refused, they’d chase you down and kill you. So after various groups of people tried to coerce me to eat their food, it was decided that I wasn’t compliant and I’d have to be killed. I’d run and try to hide…but literally every person in the town is after me. No one is safe. I’d spend a good part of the dream running and hiding…I’d wake up just as someone is about to tackle me. Then I’d fall asleep again and re-dream the not eating part and the getting chased down part over and over.

This dream I can link to several things though. First and most depressing…is my church. I kind of equate the cult to my church and how I don’t feel wanted there or welcome there anymore. I’m afraid that’s why in the dream I’m not wanted…instead, they want to kill me. The other part is from getting locked up. I was so physically ill from being re-traumatized in there that I couldn’t eat, I fought back puking constantly, and had diarrhea nonstop. But I knew they were watching and noting every time someone didn’t eat. I was so terrified they’d hold it against me, that I put something in my mouth whenever they looked (this is also why I tried to hold in my vomit). When they weren’t looking, I gave the rest of the food away. I wasn’t trying to break rules on purpose…I was just so damned sick to my stomach. It was unreal. Anyway, I think that’s where the food part comes from…and the rules about “you must eat our food”…this is just like in the hospital. Then there’s the “no one is safe” part. Huh. I think that’s part of my PTSD and then some. I’ve never felt that any one human being on this earth is entirely safe. Never. I remember several months back trying to get myself to trust people again and picking out the most benign, harmless, most Christ-like individuals- and then questioning myself on if I fully trusted them or not. And if not, why? Never…I was never able to convince myself that any person was safe. There’s always a danger. There’s always the potential for harm. That’s just life. And now it seems even more dangerous to me- I’ve been stung by the people closest to me. No one is safe. Not a soul.

________________

Tonight I was driving back from somewhere. It took a few hours. I thought over and over again of different ways I could die. And then I started thinking, why is that considered bad? Why is that considered a failure? I’m not convinced that God wants me here on this earth. He surely doesn’t need me. I’m no good to anyone. But why is dying considered so bad?? Why does some person get to say that it’s not ok? Isn’t that between God and I? And like I said, I’m not so sure he wants me here. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t actually. He wouldn’t have made my life like this.

Everything has been so much worse since I got out. I can sit here and say how I want to be a better person…and I do…but things are not good. Everything is so much worse. I am doing so much worse. I feel so much more alone than I did before. I don’t see how this will get any better. But for now, I’m here. I’m open to help. I want to get better. I just don’t see it ever happening.

Advertisements

EMDR session #1

Published June 10, 2017 by Chloe Madison

You’re supposed to focus on a picture of the most distressing part of the issue you’re dealing with. Then, you decide what’s the biggest negative feeling you have about it. I wept throughout this entire session- not sure why.

I have a picture in my head of my uncle’s suicide- his body laying face down in the grass, the stark contrast of the red blood on the green grass. 

The feeling I have is that I should have been more understanding of him, I should have known (what I didn’t know yet) about his abuse by my dad. I should have been more compassionate. 

I feel pain in my heart and chest- it blows up, swells, and feels like it’s going to burst. The pain moves up through my neck and into my head. I feel like my head is going to explode as the pain swells greater and greater. I feel like the explosion will come out of my eyes and my head will shatter. 

So I turn away from the sight because I can’t deal. I keep trying to move away and I feel like I start to float away from the scene. As much as I turn my head in that direction, wanting to move away from the scene of the suicide, I feel obligated to return. It’s the right thing to do. It’s like I just can’t turn my back on my uncle- it’s not his fault. 

I feel like I need to talk with my aunt to tell her the truth. (In reality, my uncle had been sexually abused my my dad when they were younger- my uncle told several people, but no one ever believed him. He spent most of his life depressed and eventually committed suicide). So I feel like I need to tell my aunt that my uncle was telling the truth. But I don’t want to because I’m afraid it will crush her. I see us talking in fast forward with no words.

We move into her house and we begin to become submerged in blue water that’s all throughout the house. The water stands for truth. We soak in the water up to our mouths- our entire bodies are submerged and part of our heads- up to the level of our mouths. We don’t talk anymore, we just soak in the truth. I can tell it’s going to take her time to take it all in (just like it took me time to digest everything). 

As we’re soaking in the blue water, I notice the sky turns a deep red. It becomes a dark maroon, like something foreboding is coming. But there’s a lighter, circular spot that develops in the sky. In the deep red sky, this lighter spot turns into an orange color, then fades into yellow. I feel like Jesus is going to come through that spot on a chariot or something. 

But I don’t let him. Even though I don’t have the power to stop God, I push back and don’t let him come out of the sky. The sky begins to turn a deep purple. I feel like it’s a signal that Jesus is permanently leaving. (The therapist says at this point that it’s our choice to follow Jesus and allow Him to work.) 

So I realize the mistake I’m making and I say, “Sorry! Come back, come back!” I don’t quite remember, but I think the sky turns from purple to orange. I rise up out of the blue pool to get a better look to see if Jesus is coming back. I keep rising up and as I do, I’m spinning and floating upwards, looking all around. I don’t see Jesus, but I get the feeling that he’s all around me. I look up, directly overhead and I see a circular area that’s made up of a whiter light (this reminds me of the very end of Twister when they look up into the middle of the tornado). I’m floating up into this white light. 

I feel like it could be God carrying me up into Heaven, perhaps for a visit. I want to visit my uncle and think that maybe I’ll see everyone there. I see the shadows of all my family members who have passed on. But then I see all the shadows of everyone fade and back away. One person floats forward (he’s a dark shadow with a bigger belly) so I think it’s my dad. I never see him clearly so I’m not sure. I wanted to check on my uncle so I keep thinking my dad will fade and my uncle will come forward. But it doesn’t happen. 

My dad keeps coming forward. He puts his arm around me, his hand on my shoulder and I think he says he needs to tell me something. He says, “I’m so very sorry.” Well, this is all I’ve ever wanted to hear! So I wonder if it’s real or imagined. I think I asked him if he apologized to my uncle…I wanted to make sure they’ve resolved things. He says, “I never meant to hurt you.” I think he said I love you. I don’t seem to receive these messages too warmly as I find myself still preoccupied with wanting to know if he’s resolved things with my uncle and if my uncle is ok. He asks me for forgiveness. I kind of hold off answering, almost like- well, if you apologized to Uncle Gary, then yes- if you didn’t, then no. I’m preoccupied with the injustice my uncle dealt with his entire life. Then my dad says, “Justice is not yours, it’s the Lord’s.” It makes me think of academy and wanting to help others get justice because my uncle never got it and I never did either. 

I tell my dad, “Of course I forgive you. I always have.” We go to hug, but I pause in the embrace. I question if it’s safe. I hold off hugging because I keep questioning the safety/ protection of the situation because it wasn’t safe before. I then see another person’s face- a giant sized face just floating there. This is a safe person, but I try to push that face away because it has nothing to do with the situation. The same giant face comes back again- this time the face itself is faded, but I recognize other facial features. I push it away again, thinking it doesn’t belong (except for the fact that it is a safe person). I can’t quite remember what happens next. 

I don’t know. I think we never fully hug. I think I inquire about my uncle again. My dad answers with something like- he did or said what he had to/ needed to me. (I notice we’re running out of time in the session.) I keep thinking my indecision to embrace or my indecision about whether hugging my dad is safe or questioning about my uncle is making Heaven impatient with me. The white light we’ve been in turns dark purple and I feel like I’m running out of time. They’re going to send me away. 

I descend back to Earth, back toward the pool of blue water. I look up and see my dad’s hand is reaching down to me. I reach up to him, but we’re too far away. God doesn’t let us touch or let us have more time. I keep descending and his hand fades away. 

I can see my aunt again in the water with me. I ask her if she understands now. There’s no response. I’m distracted by the sky turning orange. I see a light circular spot developing again in the sky. I think it’s Jesus coming back. I can’t remember, but I think I decide that  I don’t want to push him away again. 

I think it ends there. I’m not sure. I don’t remember. 

Dichotomy

Published February 27, 2017 by Chloe Madison

16995999_1487795274565975_1601934116169473528_n

I feel desperately alone. Yet I will tell you that we are children of God. God is our Father and we are all his family. Even when we feel we are alone, God is always there. We might not feel Him nor hear Him, but make no mistake…He IS with you.

I know that no place on this Earth is safe. Yet I will tell you that you are safe in the palm of God’s hand. You are safe when you lose yourself in His word. You are safe when you immerse yourself in prayer and converse with the Lord.

I feel completely and utterly insignificant. Yet I will tell you that we are God’s chosen people. We belong to God.

I feel sad, depressed, overwhelmingly hopeless. Yet I will tell you to hold on, to trust in Jesus. Hold tight to His promises. Confide in Him, talk with Him…then listen to Him.

I feel…no…I know that I don’t want to live anymore. Yet I will tell you that we are alive in Jesus. God has given us the gift of life. He created us with thought and precision. It’s wrong to even think of throwing that away. I would say don’t focus on yourself. Instead, focus on your Saviour and your Lord. When you have negative thoughts, focus on praising God, your loving Father. Tune in to His goodness, His gentleness, His strength, His love for you and for all of humanity. Concentrate on others- how can you help others? What are their needs? Look for a need in people, open yourself up and allow God to use you to somehow benefit others.

So much easier said than done. There is nothing profound here…just the constant battle inside my mind.

Run from the negative thoughts- they are not from God. Run to Jesus, run to your Heavenly Father. Trust in Him and cling to Him always.

bigstock-happy-family-edit

Part 1: Three Times Is A Charm

Published November 6, 2012 by Chloe Madison

IMG_5637

Part 1: Three Times Is A Charm

The Beginning…

My life has very literally been a roller coaster ride.  I’ve had some of the most amazing highs and some of the most utterly depressing and destructive lows.  I want to take you through my worst lows so that you can fully experience with joy, the depth of my best highs.

My early childhood was normal enough…we were poor, lived in a bad neighborhood and my parents struggled.  But they loved each other and they loved my brother and I and that’s all that really mattered.  When I was 9, I had my first encounter with a sexual predator.  He was a neighbor and he was around the age of 19.  I played with his little sister and spent time over at their house quite a bit.  My first memory of any violence from him centered around grasshoppers.  My mom used to pay us to get rid of the grasshoppers in the yard.  Little ones earned us a dime and the giant ones got us a quarter.  My mom wanted us to catch the grasshoppers and kill them.  But, I didn’t have the heart to do that.  I love all living things!  So, I would catch the grasshoppers, put them in a mason jar and carry them down the street to my best friend’s house where I’d release them in her yard.  I’m sure her mom loved me for that!!  🙂  One of the times I carried a jar of grasshoppers down to my friend’s house, he was there in the yard. He was tall and lanky and had brown hair, brown eyes and crooked teeth.  He knew that I was trying to save the grasshoppers.  He waited until I dumped the grasshoppers into the grass, then he jumped up and stomped on them all.  I yelled and tried to push him off the grasshoppers, which only seemed to enrage him.  The next thing I know, he’s got his hands wrapped around my neck and he’s choking me.  My friend’s mom came running out of the house and started screaming at him.  It wasn’t until she threatened to call the police that he dropped me and walked away.  I was terrified to walk home.  My house was at the end of the street, my friend’s house was at the other end and his house was right in between.  I’d have to go right by his house to get home.  I don’t recall how I got home that night, but I do remember my mom coming down the street to get me.

 

First…

I don’t remember the very first time it happened.  Perhaps that’s because it happened so many times. I’ve actually lost count. I’d say it occurred over the period of about a year or two. I remember specific times- several times in his house when no one was home, once outside in the high weeds, and the last time.  The last time, I was so proud of myself.  This time, I decided I should act like I would play along with him. I told him I would…I tried bargaining.  I said that we could play hide and seek and when he found me, I’d do what he wanted.  It was what he was going to do to me anyway. I remember hiding in a tiny cabinet just above the floor in his kitchen.  I picked the kitchen because there was a back door there.  In the dark of the cabinet, I heard him come through the kitchen looking for me.  I also heard him go into the next room.  I made my run for it! I flung open that cabinet door and darted out of the back door so fast that I thought I’d trip over my own feet.  I don’t even remember jumping on my bike, but I did.  I have a very clear memory of pedaling down the street as fast as my little feet could pedal…away from my home…panting and out of breath, as I kept frantically looking back over my shoulder to see if he was chasing me.  I got away.  Shortly after that, he moved.  Thank God.

Obviously, I felt ashamed of what happened.  I did not at all feel like I could go to my family.  I was terrified I would get in trouble.  I don’t know why I ever thought I did anything wrong.  I remember looking up the word ‘rape’ in the dictionary.  I mean, I thought I knew what it was and I thought that’s what had been happening, but I had to make sure.  I never told anyone except a priest.  I was in the 4th grade at a Catholic School and we had to do mandatory confessions to the priest every now and then.  Even though I knew I was forced, I still thought I had somehow sinned.  So, I confessed.  I didn’t quite know how to say it to the priest, so I said “I almost had a baby.”  Little did I know, that at 9 years old, a girl’s body isn’t ready nor is capable of conception.  But, I didn’t know that yet. I just knew that’s how people had babies so that was my way of telling the priest. I remember thinking he didn’t believe me…or that he thought I didn’t know what I was talking about.  Usually, for minor sins, the priest would tell you to say a prayer or two.  For major sins, the priest would tell you to say 10 or 20 prayers.  This priest told me to say 2 prayers.  He must have thought I didn’t know what I was talking about.

I also remember avoiding my mom.  It was shortly after that time that she tried to teach me about the birds and the bees.  But, I thought she knew about what happened with my nighbor and I thought she was trying to bring it up.  So I ran away.  Literally, every time she tried to talk to me about the birds and the bees, I took off running outside.  I remember climbing trees and hiding up in the trees.  I was so scared…I thought if we had that conversation, that’s she would somehow know and I’d be in BIG trouble.

But, deep down I knew I wasn’t at fault.  I knew my neighbor was a bad man.  I knew what he had done was illegal and immoral.  I knew all that…until my own father did it too.