Although I’m not a hoarder by nature, and tend to gangstah lean toward the minimalistic slant on life, there is one thing that I do, unintentionally, hoard.
Sexual assault memories.
Now I don’t hoard them on purpose; they’ve just made their way into my basement and that’s where they stay. However, they do make uninvited appearances whenever they feel like it.
While I’m asleep.
While I’m awake.
When something smells familiar.
When something sounds familiar.
Otherwise known as Flashbacks: Or ‘Fuck-off Flashbacks’ as I like to call them; until recently, I thought everyone had this phenomenon happen to them. I figured though, that if their lives had been full of beautiful, picturesque, cheesy moments, then the emergence of any said basement memories, must be a pleasant, rather than horrific, occurrence. How sweet does that sound!.
Turns out, flashbacks come with pts(d) aka Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; they’re not an everyday thing for everyday peeps. Although an ever popular title at the moment, the first time I can remember this title being used to describe ‘Me’, was in the late 90s. But that was it. No further explanation, or plan, or treatment, or anything. Just a wave of the psychological hand as I was ushered out the door with the recommendation that I take anti-depression medication. I argued vehemently that I wasn’t ‘depressed’ per se, but having to figure this shit out was wearing Me the fuck out; is that the same thing as a ‘Depressive Episode’? I think Not.
I dodged the system there after. I threw myself into motherhood and studying and working. By 2006 I had nearly completed my studies and was moving into a new job.
By 2008 I was getting physically sick. I couldn’t hold food down; I was covered in an irritating rash; my hair was falling out; my head was always sore; my heart was always racing; my stomach was always turning. A raft of medical tests showed up nuddah. Instead the ‘professionals’ prescribed antidepressants; which I didn’t take. Again citing that I wasn’t ‘unhappy’, but I was losing weight faster than I could keep it on: and, oh by the way – “can y’all fuckers help Me or not?”
By 2010 I was medically discharged from my job and shit was declining rapidly. I couldn’t walk, couldn’t hold a conversation, couldn’t drive, couldn’t make sense of much. The ‘professionals’, once again, prescribed antidepressants; the kick ass, make yah dribble, kind. Along with a few other strains of pharmacology – just for good measure. This time, I didn’t argue. I took them.
By 2013 I couldn’t leave the house. I still couldn’t drive. I was fat. I was tired. I was drained. I was broke.
So we did what any normal human would do, and we moved to the beach.
From then till now I have had an ongoing battle with ACC, to get assistance. Any assistance. The last assessment was done in August of this year; 3 years after asking for the initial one; 8 years after the one I should have had in 2009; one year after making a long ass complaint with ACC and them apologising for ‘the delay’.
In May of this year, I knew the battle with them was wearing Me thin (not literally – I wish!). The infrequent interaction with them and the long delays in between were adding to the anxiety and making me feel ‘sicker’, which was actually impeding any progress I had made from 2013 to the present.
But: Theres always a But –
I persisted with them. Believing they were my only resource or course of action. I thought I needed more money; more counselling; more help – of which I was actually entitled too, but felt like I was begging for. I really just wanted my life back and I wanted them to assist; just a tinsy winsy little bit!
But gnawing away in my gutt, was a very clear voice:
“Girlfriend … They can’t give You what You need”.
I could feel the unbalance settling in as the father issue got thrown in there. But I persisted. With the father and with ACC. Because that’s what I do.
So on a particularly bleak ‘soldier on, even though I am nearly worn the fuck out’ day, I was trolling through my Twitter feed, and stumbled upon the Podcast of one very righteous drag queen who goes by the name of LaQuisha. Her Podcast was aptly named for my very situation: “Breaking Up With The NZ Mental Health System”.
Within the first 5 minutes, I had big girl tears in my eyes.
Sometimes … just sometimes … there is huge relief in knowing your not alone in something … that you’re not the first person to experience whats going on around you.
I felt relieved. She described her struggle; similar to what I was currently having with ‘the system’. She likened their neglect as similar to what she had experienced as a young person and within her family of origin. And I had a lightbulb moment.
I could see it falling into place. The father issues … the resounding silence … the blaming … the abuse.
I got it. Hallelu-Jah, I finally got it.
Or so I thought.
So Me and my newly enlightened self, wrote a quick post about it, so I wouldn’t forget and because that’s what I do. I saved the podcast for later perusal and thusly celebrated my Aha Moment.
That was 5 months ago.
And that’s right. I forgot everything I had just learned and I got further weighted down. Actually, I continued to let myself be weighted down. I analysed the fuck out of all sides of the issues, both ACC and father. I flipped it, responded to it, dropped the anti-anxiety meds, I talked it out, cried it out, blogged some more and then some more; I raged, I painted, I tried to remember the good things, I listened to soothing music, I tried more photography … oh, and I minimised and minimised the fuck out of everything. And yesterday, as I was on another rampant minimising mission, and was deleting shit off my computer, I came across – that’s right:
LaQuisha’s Saved Podcast.
A little surprised it was sitting there, just looking at Me, I decided to re-listen to it. And Yes, that’s right; 5 minutes in, and I was in big girl tears. A-Gain. So I paused LaQuisha – made Me a very delicious coffee – and came back to gaze at the screen for a just a little while longer, before un-pausing and re-listening.
Yes, that shit dawned on Me long and hard for quite an embarrassing length of time.
I had the answers to my conundrum 5 months ago, and for whatever fucked up, deep-seated psychologically mind numbing reason – I freudian-ly, chose to ignore it. I knew 5 months ago what I should do. What I already knew in my gutt, instinctually, 5 months before that. That there was No help in the system for Me and that my father and his bullshit, needed to Get Gone.
So I am now on a break up with ACC. I figure I need them like I need a hole in the head. I’ve done the assessment and gotten sweet fuck all from them. Will I get anything else out of them? Not without applying a shit tonne of pressure. And I do not have the energy for that, and actually, I don’t want to waste anymore of my time and precious resources on hitting my head against the proverbial brick wall. In the new year I may apply for more EMDR if I feel I need it; but that will be done on My terms.
Am I breaking up with my father? Definitely. I’ve deleted him completely from my life – Again. I don’t need his bullshit. And I never needed anything he had to offer; which was next to nothing anyway.
I’m now talking with my Mama about getting my name changed back to my maternal family name. We’re going to take a trip up the River, where our tipuna came from, to find the burial sites of my Great Grandmother and Great Great Grandmother.
The thought of that stirs my spirit.
This is about finding where I belong. Who I belong too. Who loved Me long before I was born. That is where My healing is at and that is where my strength lies.
It’s not in what I’ve lost, or what I haven’t got, or what I can’t get. It’s in what ‘else’ I am, what else I can be and what else is waiting for Me.