Monday, March 2, 2009

3:01 a.m.

If I would have gotten up and written at 1:57 a.m., when I first woke up, I'd probably be asleep right now.

I feel like my life has turned into one of those crazy stop-motion films and it's taking me to long to set up the next shot.

I know it's all over when I end up on my back, eyes wide open, staring at the window covered in one of those temporary paper shades.

The light comes in like the light before it snows. Except of course it doesn't snow because it's Georgia. Except it did snow yesterday and the boys have an actual real snow day tomorrow, so my insomnia has an added sense of holiday to it. Nice. Helpful.

I know I'm in trouble when I end up on my back because I can't sleep on my back. I sleep on my side. Semi-fetal, blankets pulled up close to my mouth, hands tucked under the pillow, sometimes fists clenched. I figure it's all about safety. Protection.

I figure it's all about growing up scared and alone and waiting.

I've had two therapists tell me I was probably sexually abused by my brother and that I've repressed it. Both therapists I only saw once or twice. Both listening to me spill out a brief history of my childhood and recent experiences and quickly telling me I was abused, listing the signs, putting the fear of God into me and then sending me on my way.

My other two therapists, the two I spent over a year with -- one in my mid-twenties, the other in my late thirties -- seemed to dismiss this theory. Or rather, they took it in with that neutral expression in which they take most information from you. My last therapist seemed to think I had plenty in my present to work on, thank-you very much. She was right, I did.

At this point I've decided if it happened, it happened, if it didn't it didn't. The abuse I do remember has been enough to deal with.

My brother called me several months ago --the first time I had talked to him in nine years. The reconnection that seemed about to happen during that phone call never really took. I don't know. I know my reasons for keeping him out of my life, I can only guess at his.

Now it's 3:19 a.m. I still don't feel sleepy, I'll maybe catch up on some blogs cruise Facebook, read some mail, but eventually I'll put the computer down, stay here on the couch, roll over to semi-fetal, pull the blankets up close to my mouth, close my eyes and wait, still kind of scared. Still kind of alone.


Jennifer H said...

That feeling is one thing, but I hope you know you're not alone. I know you know it.

In any case, I hope you can sleep. (Just so you know, this made my heart ache.)

Madge said...

it's not total alone feeling, it's just a teensy eensy bit of alone feeling.

also, if we are both up right now why are we not chatting on FB? wait, i'm coming over right now...

52 Faces said...

My dear Madge,

I've often said for me, the journey to walk out of my childhood is like stumbling through the dark, hands in front of me. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Please go to 52 Faces and play song 3 on my playlist. I send it to you right now.

Thanks for this post. I hadn't realized what we had in common. It doesn't surprise me, as the kindred often find each other somehow.


AnastasiaSpeaks said...

Hi sweetheart - I'm glad you wrote it down. I hope it's a helpful release. We're here for you.

I sleep the same way. I'm so sorry for your pain and loneliness. The night time is the worst...eyes wide open, your mind just running nonstop, anxiety filling up your soul. It's awful. I hope you do better tonight.

No therapist now? When you had the last one, did it help?

Louise said...

Oh Madge. I've had sleepless nights like that, but not for the same reasons. (They suck for me because when I can finally relax and go to sleep, it's time to get up.) I know you're not alone, but I also know that sometimes you probably feel like you are. My heart hurts for you in those times.

apathy lounge said...

The past and its hurts become less jagged with time, but they never really go away. Peace to you.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Oh man, I pray for your peace--maybe not perfection, but rest and calm.

phd in yogurtry said...

As someone who has had quite a lot of experience working with sexually abused children and adults, I do not advocate telling someone they "probably were but are repressing." (Repressed memory is one of the most hotly debated and dubious of concepts).

Instead, I typically talk about the presence of risk factors and then we usually move on. It's very tricky worrying about what might have happened and sometimes only serves to keep us stuck. We can only cope with what we know, or what we can remember, and then move on to what is in the here and now.

Because that's what it's all about for me and the work I do. What can I do now to help improve my situation? How can I help myself to feel better now?

In any case, sorry for your lost sleep last night. Insomnia is never any fun. It took me forever to fall asleep last night, worrying about something bothersome, but I was out for the count long before 3am.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I was abused by my grandfather - but only know this because my aunt started having memories (that had previously been repressed).

I still don't remember anything specific - he died when I was four. But looking back, I now see how obvious it was...

Anyway - my point is that I don't technically remember anything - but I've worked through knowing it and recognizing the effects that it's had on my life.

Maybe it's not so important to have full memories if you have enough fragments or residual feelings to just "know."

Sometimes I think I'm lucky not to have the visuals that I know my aunt and mother now do.

Sounds like your therapist who suggested focusing on now (at least for the moment) had a good feel for you as a person. There is never one "right" way to deal with this stuff.

Apathy Lounge makes a good point about the bad stuff never really going away. But it can fade to the background and not keep you up at night. I've always think it's like having a pimple on your face that no one can really see unless they really look very carefully. Since you are always aware that it's there, you have to take whatever measures necessary to live with it and not let it affect your happiness. Sounds frivolous - but hopefully, you know what I mean.

Anyway - I hope things get better.

Stacie said...

I'll bet there is TONS of crap we've all repressed but I can't help thinking that telling you this kind of crap is irresponsible. Now you will always wonder and your brother could be totally innocent. With such a strained relationship already, I'm sure it makes a reconnection even that more difficult. Even if they think you are repressing something, why not let you come to terms with that yourself during the course of therapy...I mean isn't that what it's really about? Your talking about yourself and the therapist giving you guidance in that journey? This is why I don't got to therapy anymore. I have OCD (pure obsession, no compulsions) and I went to a therapist that told me to pop a rubber band on my wrist and tell myself to STOP. This is the biggest bunch of crap I have ever heard. there are good therapists in this world but very few around these here parts.

Ducky said...

I like what phd in yogurtry said.

Sleep well tonight.

Leanne said...

Lovely piece. I hope it was cathartic for you. I know that alone feeling...if that makes you feel less alone. Hugs.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

PhD in Yogurtry is very wise. There are some crazy therapists out there--like the one that told my sister to let me know that because I'd never acted out as a reaction to my tumultuous childhood I was a ticking time bomb.

I hope you find the person that can help you to move forward and find the peace you need.

flutter said...

come over, honey I will give you a massage :)

flutter said...

come over, honey I will give you a massage :)