Finding my Beautiful Destination

That moment when I realised I have been going about things the wrong way. Trying to fix binge eating and my need to drink alcohol to numb feelings instead of focusing on the cause – mental health problems.

This is a moment when I can start to turn my life around!

In the words of Martine McCutcheon “This is my moment.”

Apologies to anyone who now has that song stuck in their heads 😂. 

The last week or so have been tough. Going from feeling low to not wanting to be here anymore. So much so I wrote ‘Will anybody notice or care‘. I am very lucky to have friends that contacted me, around the time that I published that blog, to see how I was and then guided me through making me feel valued, wanted and most of all loved. Sometimes people can save lives and not even know it. A few words make such a difference.

Recently I was listening to Madeleine Black’s memoir Unbroken and everything changed.  

The therapies that Madeleine had tried and how they affected her really got me thinking. I have only tried therapy with Rape Crisis and a therapist through work. 

Rape Crisis were fantastic and I hope to start therapy with them again once I have moved house.

But there are so many other things I can do to help myself. 

I have tried to stop binge eating and drinking alcohol so that I would feel better about myself. But I was tackling this and my mental health in the wrong way. 

Madeleine said “It was time to turn and face that which I’d been running from for so long.”

When I heard this it made me realise I need to start facing the childhood sexual assaults, rapes, coercive control and sexual assaults in relationships which have cause my mental health problems. Only then will I be able to truly find myself and be free from my demons. 

So today is the first day of my true journey taking on the horrors of my past. Do I expect there to be hurdles along the way – yes, do I think this will happen overnight – no, could this take a long time potentially years – yes.

I do not expect this to be easy BUT 

I WILL beat this,

I WILL find myself and my beautiful destination, 

I WILL live again!

Day Two: Finding myself beneath food and alcohol!

A working day always makes things a little easier by taking my mind off of things. So for the majority of today I have been absolutely fine and have felt positive. 

There was a challenge to encounter though. I needed to go shopping for my mum. She gave me a list and I stuck to it. I won’t say I wasn’t tempted but I did it. I shopped for food and didn’t buy anything for me to binge on and didn’t buy any alcohol. That in my book is a raving success. 

I did get some bad news when dropping my mum’s shopping off. She had an angina attack at midnight on Friday. Putting aside my frustration that she hadn’t told me before today, I am just glad she is ok. She called the doctor on Monday to let them know. 

Despite the attack, mum being as stubborn as she is still mowed her lawn on Saturday! She’s made of strong stuff that woman. 

So tomorrow is going to be a tough one. I need to go shopping for myself. I will make sure I have a list, I will eat before I go and I will avoid the alcohol aisles. That is going to be my way of shopping for a while. 

The only other thing that is going to get in my way at the moment is my time of the month. Like a lot of women my emotions are all over the place once a month. If I don’t want to eat everything in sight then I am really low and wanting to drink. If I can get past this then I can get past anything.

Nobody finds themselves in alcohol or by binge eating. Neither will I!

Day three bring it on…..

Finding myself beneath the food & alcohol!

For many years I have been binge eating and drinking alcohol to numb the pain and emotions. To have time where I can forget myself and the life around me and just be.

I have been battling depression since I was a teenager. I always thought this was because I needed to accept that I am a lesbian. Yes that was a difficult journey but little did I know that there were a lot of other things lurking inside me.

I started seeing a counsellor when I was 18 years old. This was to help me come to terms with being gay. Unfortunately I had the wrong counsellor who thought she would tell me she thought I was going through a phase…. It’s a long bloody phase. I’m now 43 years old. Nope, i’m still 100% part of the lesbian rainbow crowd.

I was screaming out back then to be heard. I was also referred to a counsellor who specialised in alcohol addiction. I thought it was a waste of time. I didn’t drink that much right!?!

Only now, 25 years later, I can see it for what it was. Alcohol abuse!

Recently my therapy with Rape Crisis came to an end. The therapist was there for me for 18 months allowing me to vent, cry, have panic attacks but most of all help me through what I can safely say has been one of the toughest times of my life. 

When I registered to the waiting list for a Rape Crisis therapist I needed to talk to someone about an incident that had been brought back to the forefront of my mind. The memory of a sexual assault when I was a child. Little did I know that once I unearthed one memory more would come flooding back. 

After all of these years I was remembering being sexually assaulted and raped as a child from 7 years old until I was around 17 years old. 

If that wasn’t enough after talking to my therapist about my previous two relationships it was apparent that I had been sexually assaulted by my partners at the time. I was lucky to escape their controlling behaviours.

I know that not everyone who has been through trauma turns to something like food or alcohol to lose themselves. Unfortunately I did. I feel that I wasn’t strong enough to let the feelings free. I didn’t want to feel them. 

So for a number of years I have been binge eating when I am depressed or low in mood and sometimes when I was angry too. This has not been my only vice, I have also turned to alcohol. 

Alcohol numbs the feelings that I don’t want to feel. Binge eating, usually sweet things, helps me lose myself. I am no longer me when I am drinking or binge eating. I’m escaping my mind and body. 

Today I am fed up with the vicious circle of binge eating then kicking myself for doing it and numbing my feelings with alcohol.

Today I have decided to stop both for as long as I can. I am not going to put a timeframe on this because it could all go wrong tomorrow and I will kick myself again. The main thing is I want to try and I want to write about it so I can show others what it is like for me. 

Are you on a similar journey? What are you giving up? Is it harder during lockdown? Let me know your thoughts.

So here I am at the end of day one. I have not had an alcoholic drink and I have only had something to eat when I am hungry. I feel determined but as people know that can change from one minute to the next. Lets see what happens!

This journey is about finding myself, who I really am. I will be allowing myself to feel instead of burying myself in food and alcohol. It’s not going to be easy but I am willing to try. That’s a good place to start.

TRIGGER WARNING: How a flashback made me feel.

One weekend not so long ago I was feeling good. I played golf on the Saturday morning and caught up with some friends on Sunday. I made time to blitz my house and even caught up with my emails. Things were going well. Then everything changed!

I was watching a documentary series about a guy on trial for killing his wife. Part of the defence discussions were about emails between the accused and another guy. Up to this point I had no idea what was in the emails. Then the camera focused on the folder containing print outs of the emails. They showed pornographic images of naked men in various sexual positions.

One of the images showed the front of a naked man. As soon as I saw it, I turned the tv off. 

My body went so tense and I was rocking backwards and forwards. I couldn’t get the image out of my head. 

It took me straight back to sexual assaults and rape from my childhood. The shock running through my body was something I had never felt before. How could one image change everything in an instant. 

I couldn’t stop shaking and rocking. I wanted desperately to get the images of what happened to me out of my head. I can now see them much clearer. The one thing that I really don’t understand is that I can feel it happening all over again now. 

How the fuck can that happen. It feels like it’s just happened. I feel so dirty, disgusting and ashamed. Why has this happened to me? What did I do? 

How can one picture change everything for me.

Only recently I was OK. Yes, I was having down days and still working on what has happened to me but now, now is so different. 

I struggle to get out of bed in the morning even when I am wide awake. I am scared to go to sleep in case I have more nightmares. I am now worried about being around some men. I have moved desks at work because I kept getting spooked about men walking behind me. I have more thoughts of taking my own life. TV, books, music, people talking – anything that contains sex I just cannot hear, read or watch. I am afraid when I am walking to my car after work now it is dark. I am afraid to walk to the local shop, less than 5 mins away, when it’s dark. 

What the hell! How can this one image make such a difference. It has changed my life for the worse. I wasn’t expecting to see it. I never wanted to see anything like that again in my life. Now it’s stuck in my mind and I can’t get rid of it. 

It’s plaguing me. Tormenting me. Putting me back in time to the sexual assaults and rape! I CAN FEEL IT HAPPENING ALL OVER AGAIN!!! WTF!!! I feel so physically sick.

I’ve never felt so triggered in my life. I haven’t been the same since I saw that image on TV. It’s only been 10 days but believe me it feels like a lifetime!

I am really not sure how I am going to get passed this. 

So, how does it feel to have a flashback? It feels life changing, devastating, nauseating, frightening, debilitating. 

I hope I never have a flashback again. I wish I could give advice on how to cope but I have no idea myself. 

Please take care everyone. This shit is horrible!

Sexual Assault Light Bulb Moment

Every time you step inside that room to talk to your therapist you know what it’s about. After opening up to her for a year memories have been flooding back. You know what they are and you are starting to put the pieces together.

But there is always that moment. That moment when it occurs to you that these things actually happened. You were sexually assaulted by your ex wife and then by your ex girlfriend.

The conversation flowing. I was thinking – why couldn’t I say no, why couldn’t I escape. Then the questions from my therapist… What were you scared of? What did you think was going to happen?

Well, I say, they wouldn’t have physically hurt me. They weren’t violent…. The realisation kicks in – the light bulb moment. They both sexually assaulted me numerous times over 8 years.

WHAT!!! Is this real? Did this really happen to me? Surely I could have said ‘no’ or made an excuse. The thing is I did make excuses and although I never said the word ‘no’ I certainly gave every impression that I didn’t want to. I did not give consent!!

A while ago I wrote a blog about being sexually assaulted by my wife. At the time it was words on a page, information to be processed. Even then when I was writing the details the light bulb didn’t go off. I knew what it was and I knew it had happened but I hadn’t taken it in or believed it.

I believe it now, I know it happened and I am taking it all in but I feel acceptance is a step that I am still working towards. My head knows but my heart and soul are not there yet.

How did this happen to me?

It all started when I was a child. You see, I was sexually assaulted as a child as well. After years of struggling I decided to get some help to find my voice. To get all of these torturous memories out.

I have been seeing a Rape Crisis therapist now for just over a year. I have a way to go yet but I feel stronger just knowing the support is there for me.

These light bulb moments can be tough but each one is a step closer to freedom from the memories which have been holding me back.

Never give up. Find your voice and grab your freedom with both hands. Our lives are worth living!

I needed someone to see me

I woke up that morning with an anger in my head, my blood rushing through my veins like lava.

I recognise this feeling, I’ve had it before. Yes, the one feeling nobody expects. I want to hurt myself, I want my mind to just switch off, explode into tiny pieces so nobody can see what I see.

Therapy starts, I can’t talk. I hold my head in my hands and want to scream. I growl, for fuck sake. 

I just want to switch it off. Turn of my mind. I want this feeling to go. I won’t take my own life I say. I may hurt myself. Scale of 0-10, how likely? Higher than 5! 

I can’t breathe, I just want it all to go. I can’t process what is happening. Doctors’?…..no. No, I’m fine. I won’t kill myself. 

It was then that I realised you have seen me.

I needed someone to see me. I needed someone to see what feeling like this looks like. This happens, the anger, the hurt, the pain, the shame, the disgust takes over. For a day, a week, a month for as long as it wants. Eating away at every fibre of my being. 

You have seen me at my worst now. My absolute rock bottom. I needed someone to see me. I’m glad it was you. 

The Worrier in Me!

A lot of things run through my head every day but at the moment there is something in particular that keeps coming back to me. 

Since I started talking about what happened to me as a child and in my relationships as an adult I have been worried.

I started seeing Rape Crisis nearly a year ago, set up this blog site, set up the anon Twitter account and reached out when I needed to.

Through no fault of anyone but me I feel like I am a burden. I worry about what people think of me. I desperately don’t want to come across as stalkerish, clingy, needy or anything like that. The trouble is I worry that I do. 

If I do I certainly don’t mean to. 

Sometimes I wonder if I should stop everything, counselling, blogging, Twitter, chatting etc. I just don’t want to be that person that people think ‘Not her again’.

Finding people that you can talk to openly about anything is harder than anyone would ever imagine. But I did it! I guess that’s why I worry, I dont want to scare people away. 

How on earth do I stop feeling like this? It’s one worry I could do without!

I would just like to end this by saying this is not aimed at anyone. This is me trying to air my feeling and I guess hoping for help, hoping to find out is it me or is this normal!?!

Sexual assault in marriage/relationships – TRIGGER WARNING

I used to think that it isn’t possible to be sexually assaulted by the person you are married to or in a relationship with. Yes a very naive approach to life but that was me. I mean, who would want to sexually assault their partner right!?!

Then there was a turning point where not only did I know it could happen but it actually happened to me. I didn’t know it as sexual assault at the time but I certainly do now. All I know is that I didn’t want it to happen but it did anyway. 

There were many incidents over the years but one particular incident sticks in my mind. Please do not read on if you think this may trigger you. #Selfcare 

One night when we went to bed like most nights I assumed my position of sleeping on my back. My wife would put her head on my shoulder and her arm around my waist. 

This night like others lead to what I now know to be sexual assault. 

She started to move her hand down so I closed my legs as tight as I could knowing and dreading what was coming. I turned away and said I was tired but that didn’t stop her. 

She started to touch me in ways I didn’t want her to despite my legs clenched as tight as I could. Next thing I know she is inside me. I felt so sick and couldn’t help but cringe. I didn’t want this but she carried on. 

I could tell she wasn’t going to give up or listen to my words or body language. I didn’t feel like I could get up and get away. I felt stuck, frozen! Now all I wanted was for it to be over. 

The only way I felt I could get this over with was to go along with it, fake an orgasm as quick as I could but not too quick so she thought it was fake!

I was scared, I didn’t feel I had any other choice. So that’s what I did.

It feels me with dread even now. My legs are crossed tightly as I write this. The thought of it sickens me. 

On a good night it would end there. On a bad night I was then made to do the same and more to her. She wasn’t faking so this took longer. All I could think of was I hope she is satisfied soon because I don’t want this. I could have cried so many times. 

Afterwards I remember turning away and just wanting to get out of there but I couldn’t move. It’s like my body was made of lead. So heavy, so dirty! 

Sexual assault in marriage and relationships happens far too often and like me no doubt people put up with it. I didn’t even recognise it as sexual assault until I discussed it with my Rape Crisis counsellor. 

To my wife it was making love, to me it was so violating, dirty and invasive. There was no love in that! 

Turning a corner! – Rape Crisis Update

I have now been seeing a counsellor at Rape Crisis for a year. We have built a great relationship of trust and honestly. 

It is never easy finding the right counsellor who you know you can have this relationship with. I consider myself very lucky. 

Yesterday when I left I felt happy and positive. My counsellor and I had a great conversation. We were even laughing. 

I finally feel like I am starting to turn a corner. 

Most of my life I have been controlled in one way or another by various people – family, friends and partners. This control has left me feeling like I cannot say no and cannot get out of a situation that I don’t want to be in, sexual abuse. I freeze!

On the less serious but also impacting side of the scale I have felt I couldn’t say no to my mum. Here are a couple of examples.

I have wanted a cat for years but my sister and mum are scared of them so I felt I couldn’t get one despite living on my own. 

A month ago I decided it was time I did something for me, I finally made the decision to adopt a cat from the local RSPCA centre. Its my life right. I need to do what I want to with it. 

Surprisingly, my sister is happy for me and has decided that she wants to get over her fear. My mum however is not impressed! Sadly I am not surprised at this. 

Anyway, moving on from that. I have decided that it’s time to cancel a long standing obligation I have to drop my mum at bingo every Monday. This is something I do because I feel I have to and feel guilty if I don’t. Don’t get me wrong, my mum will still go but her friend will take her instead as she is going anyway. 

I know this sounds a bit pathetic but believe me these decisions have not been easy and I still feel guilty for making them. 

You may think I am selfish and maybe even cruel. All I can say to that is please do not judge a situation when you are not living it. 

Saying one little word, NO, is harder than you think sometimes. 

One step at a time, one decision at a time I will start to live my life for me and put me first. 

I am important too! The best person to take care of me is me. 

Taking control of MY life! Part One

If someone was to say to me some years ago that I would be writing a blog about taking control of my own life I would have thought they were mad. It is my life, nobody else can control it. How wrong was I!?!

I now know that my ex wife and my ex girlfriend were two people in my life who controlled me. I cancelled plans because they didn’t want me to go somewhere without them, I cancelled plans because they didn’t like the person who was going to be there (my friend or family member), I cancelled plans because they were available and I had to drop anything I was doing to be with them instead.

This was far from the only things I did but I didn’t see it until near the end of the relationships or afterwards. I just knew something wasn’t right.

Being controlled by someone is not something I thought was possible until it happened to me. I mean people can say ‘no’ right? Why wouldn’t people just do what they want to do rather than be pushed into something they don’t want to do?

Well i’m afraid I don’t have an answer for that. Yet!

Part of the therapy I am receiving from Rape Crisis covers how I have been controlled throughout my life. Finding out if there was a particular incident or incidents that led me to live a life of being controlled feeling like I couldn’t escape.

I love my mum more than I can explain but our relationship has become more and more strained over the years. I feel guilty if I don’t do what she asks as soon as I can which in turn makes her dependant on me and doesn’t help her independence and confidence.

I wasn’t aware of how my actions could affect my mum until my therapy session today. I had never thought that helping my mum so often could take something away from her too. If I am completely honest I am sure my mum doesn’t realise it either. But why would either of us even realise what an impact our actions are having on each other.

Mum asks I go, mum asks I go, mum asks I go. I discussed with my therapist that I am not living my own life and mum is being very demanding and I felt I had to do the things she was asking and I had no choice. My therapist mentioned that actually how I react to her requests probably has an impact on my mum as well.   

With this, my history with my ex partners, my history of sexual assaults etc. I understand now that it shows a pattern. I find it very difficult to say no, I feel like I cannot escape certain situations, I do not value my own life and put others first.

I have been sexually assaulted over 7 times (that I remember). Each occasion I have felt like I could not escape even if I wasn’t being held down and could simply open a door and run. My reaction, like many others, was to freeze or do what the person was demanding through fear or having no self worth.

Now despite all of this I am far from saying this is all my fault because it isn’t. None of it is! What I am saying is that whatever initially happened embedding this way of life in to me has won for the last 42 years.

It’s time for me to take control of MY life!

Is this possible? Yes it is

  • It’s not a quick fix
  • It’s not easy
  • But it can be done!

I am starting by writing a list of the things I want to do. This will no doubt have some simple things and some not so simple but it’s a start.

  • Play golf
  • Read
  • Write book reviews
  • Nights out with friends
  • Travel to see friends
  • Be at home doing nothing
  • Mindfulness
  • Spend time with my family
  • Holiday where I want to holiday
  • Did I say play golf lol

These are a few things I would like to include in MY life over the next few months.

So how am I going to do this? Meh!

Firstly, when someone asks me what I am doing on a certain date I am going to respond with ‘why’. This gives me the freedom to say that I would rather not do what they are suggesting before seeing if I am free. This might sound odd but I always feel like I must do what the person is suggesting if I am free and have told them that.

I am going to write a weekly schedule including things from the list above. Now sometimes there will be weeks when I won’t do some of those things but that’s ok. It’s about doing what I want to do when I want to do it.

What I need to make sure I am doing when I write up the schedule is do things because I want to and not because I feel I should or feel guilty if I don’t. This is the tough bit for me. I worry so much about what other people think.

So for instance


MonTuesWedThursFriSatSun
Play golf

XX
X
Spend time with my family






MindfulnessXXXXXXX
Be at home doing nothing
X

X

Write book reviews (as and when)X
XX
XX
Read X
XX
XX
Therapy


X


You can see that I have left a few things out of the table because they wouldn’t be weekly. Also I have not selected any dates to spend with my family at the moment. This is only because I am feeling suffocated, for want of a better word, at the moment. This will change and I will see them each week or every other week when I want to.

With that said this doesn’t mean I will not help my mum if she needs me. It will just be when I am free rather than dropping everything. Believe me this will be very difficult. I hate to think that my mum might get upset or annoyed because I don’t go there when she wants.

Anyway before I revert back to how I am now….

I think that is enough to start with. If I overload myself I know I will get overwhelmed and stay as I am.

Feel free to follow me or come back in a few weeks time to see how I got on.