Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Very very low tonight. Feel like the little two-year-old me, sitting in my cot, desperate for someone - specifically a parent - to come and pick me up. I want to be held and cuddled and made to feel safe. I want someone to do for me what I did for my pet today - take care of me, love me, worry about me, hold me and stroke me and make me feel safe. I want them to put themselves through hell to make sure I'm alright, just like I did for my pet today. If I can do it for my chinchilla, why couldn't my mum and dad do it for their first-born child? I don't get it.

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Of all the therapy I've had, over the past 12 years - all the difficult and horrible topics I've explored - it's never been this hard.

I've never hated the process and the sessions so much. I've never struggled to meet the therapist's eye, I've never dreaded each appointment so much, and I've never had to force myself to climb the stairs and knock on the door.

And I've never been so desperate to leave so many sessions that it's taken a physical act of will to stay there

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Twice as much morphine

Assuming that for the rest of the day, I ONLY take an additional slow release pill with each of the remaining doses, I'll still have take twice as much morphine today as yesterday.

Because I had to drive to the vet's, and because I woke up in agony due to the pulled muscle in my back, I started taking top-up pills immediately. The driving meant I needed enormous dosages. I've spent all afternoon in bed, trying to relax and ease the pain.

But all of that has still only reduced the pain, not stopped it. I still can't stand up straight, never mind walk, due to my back, and I'm still getting horrible flashes of shoulder pain, just lying here.

There have been a lot of 'empty SEs', and I suspect some of the lack of relief today is because of the increasing ineffectiveness of the morphine. But what other option do I have?

Yesterday, I kept my morphine intake to 80mg, by tackling the pain mentally; that doesn't work at high pain levels, or when I'm out of the house. If I don't take any more top-ups after the ones I took half an hour ago, today will be 170mg.

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Pulled muscle

I pulled something in my back getting out of the shower last night and it's agony.

I don't even know what I did, I must've twisted funny or something, but I just suddenly had a huge twinge that felt like a pulled muscle. It was really painful all evening, despite lots of heat, stretching etc and I slept flat; I was trying to minimise any problems, because I knew I needed to drive this morning.

When the pill alarm went off at 6am I was in agony, but I didn't know if it was morphine pain (because last night's dose was running low), or the pulled muscle. By 7.30 I was sure it was the muscle; I had to leave to take one of the chinchillas to the vet before 9, so I had to take top-up pills. Without them, I wouldn't even have been able to get out of bed.

I managed the drive there, but I could hardly stand up when I got out of the car after the hour drive. Standing around in the consultation room, I was getting really bad twinges in my shoulder (it was painful yesterday, but I'd managed to avoid pills).

Getting back to the car was bad back- and shoulder-wise. I had to stop after 20 minutes to take more top-up pills because the pain was so bad. By the time I got home, it was agonising. I had terrible trouble getting me and my baby into the house; I had to take more pills less than an hour after the first lot.

That was an hour and a half ago; I feel stoned off my face, the shoulder pain has eased but it's still hard to walk. Looks like another afternoon in bed.

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Monday, 27 February 2012

Empty SEs

I haven't been on here lately because I've still been too shell-shocked from Friday's therapy appointment.

This is just a quick post, though, to say that I'm coining a new phrase - 'empty side effects' or 'empty SEs'. That's when the morphine you take gives no pain relief, but you do get the side effects.

That's been the case today - none of the pills I've taken (slow- or quick-release) have had any effect on the pain whatsoever (except on the withdrawal-type pains when I left too long a gap between doses - because it wasn't working, so why bother taking it), but I've had all the side effects.

Like 'empty' calories to a malnourished person, 'empty SEs' are just a raging waste of time - and indeed an insult - to someone in pain. I'm not taking the bloody stuff if it doesn't help - there's no fucking point.

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Saturday, 25 February 2012

Therapy today was so far beyond harrowing. I have no words for how bad it was and how awful it made me feel.

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Thursday, 23 February 2012

Morphine now useless

Things are going from bad to worse; I don't want to live like this anymore.

About four days ago, I started finding that not only was I in terrible pain, but the feelings that the pain is supposedly masking, were now right there on the surface. I was being forced to deal with both the pain and the feelings, all at once, and that was triggering the worst insomnia I've ever had.

Now, not only am I facing pain and feelings and sleep deprivation, but the medication has stopped working.

I took a 15mg top-up at 9.45, to little effect, but that's not all that unusual for night-time. I took 30mg slow-release at 10.45; normally I take 20, but to try and limit the amount of top-ups I take (because the doctor is on holiday, so I can't get more), I increased the basic dose. It worked fine yesterday.

Today, I was still getting really bad pain two hours later. I was still worried about running out of OxyNorm, so I crunched up another 20mg of slow release morphine (to make it quick release). Nothing. I feel stoned and high, but there was no pain relief. Two hours later, there still isn't.

I was afraid this might happen; if you take deconstruction of the delusion - the pain - far enough, it makes sense that chemicals will no longer have any effect. It's a natural extension of the way the pain invariably breaks through any new medication or dosage.

My brain is gradually beginning to accept the fact that the pain is simply a construct designed to distract attention from difficult feelings. As realisation dawns that the pain is not 'real', so 'real' treatments lose effectiveness.

I talked to the therapist a couple of weeks ago about wanting to come off the morphine. It seemed to me that deconstructing the delusion could never fully work whilst I was feeding it by taking pills. Taking the pills tells the brain you believe the pain is real, which just reinforces it, when what you're trying to do is unpick it. So I wanted to stop taking the morphine.

The therapist said she thought that would be incredibly difficult though, and I should instead work towards making the pain redundant by dealing with the feelings behind it. I decided she was right, especially when the pain started flaring up even more. But if the morphine is goint to stop working, then I'm going to be completely fucked.

Rising pain levels, enormous emotional trauma and nothing - nothing - to ease any of it.

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Wednesday, 22 February 2012

I've been feeling really weird all day and I don't understand why.

I feel scared and angry and very very sad. I'm feel confused and threatened and lost. I feel like I'm looking at a world I don't understand, through a filter of confusion and loss. It's like I'm hearing the words, but they make no sense. I'm watching lips move, but the end result is meaningless. It's scary and unsettling and I hate it.

I think how I'm feeling is probably the underlying feeling of my childhood; if I'd been aware of my feelings back then - which I never was - I think this is what they would've been.

That, in itself, is a terrifying thought; that my childhood was such a dark, forbidding, empty place, that this is how it made me feel.

I suppose it makes sense - as a child unable to understand or interpret what was happening to me, my impression of the world was as confused and scary as the world itself seemed to be.

The confusion, the fear, the threatened - that all comes from the shifting sands of my fathers mercurial moods. The sadness and the lost comes from being left so alone, sacrificed for her and by her.

I'm also having particular trouble with anger; not anger now, but anger in the past. Several of my precious somatic conditions have been recurring, and the ones that have come back and stayed, are those relating to anger.

My insomnia, which I worked out years ago, is an indication of unexpressed anger, is at an all-time high. And my ears - the eczema and swelling - is also bad, and that's also always been anger.

I don't feel angry at all; in fact, I don't 'feel' anything. I keep trying to work out what's behind the pain - and there's been a lot of pain today, stubbornly resistant to the soothing effect of the meds - but I can't get at it. I know there's something there, but whatever it is, it makes no sense to me.

All day, I've been fighting off desperate urges to stuff myself insensible - urges that I recognise as ways of distracting myself from feelings that are too difficult or painful to deal with.

So in summation: I'm experiencing the confused, frightening mishmash of emotions generated by a threatening, unsafe, insecure childhood. My body is yelling right, left and centre that I'm angry, yet I can't feel anger, or anything else - I can't feel anything at all. The pain is stubbornly masking a welter of emotions that I can't even identify, never mind decode.

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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

I have had insomnia all my life, but it's never, ever been as bad as this before. I just want to sleep.

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Friday, 17 February 2012

Blogging the last two posts has triggered unbelievable pain. I can't breathe. I want to die.

Three-and-a-half hours and 65mg of morphine. That's what it's taken for me to get from the lounge to the bedroom. Not to be pain-free - that still hasn't happened - but just to be able to get up and go to bed.

Addendum 2
Awake till 5am in terrible pain and battling terror and flashbacks. I'm drowning in memories, none of them good.

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Frightening truth

The therapist told me today that the sexual abuse I suffered as a child was made much worse and much more damaging by the neglect I'd already experienced.

I was desperate for the love and attention I couldn't get from my mother, and then my father came along and exploited that, giving me the very worst kind of 'attention'.

And that terrible attention was all I got. No wonder, years later when I thought my parents were going to divorce, I decided I'd rather live with my dad. I'd already blocked out the worst of what he'd done to me - the sexual stuff - but the threat of violence persisted and he continued to beat me down mentally.

He terrified me, but at least he 'saw' me. At least I felt like I was 'there' with him; with her, I felt like a ghost, an invisible cloud that would be forever overlooked.

It tells you something, that I would choose fear and ridicule, emotional battery and explosive rage, over the blank nothingness of indifference.

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Therapy meltdown

It was an incredibly difficult therapy appointment today - by far the hardest and the worst. And I'm aware that I've been 'medicating' ever since, mostly with food.

I've eaten probably twice as many calories as I normally would, as well as taking morphine for pain levels that I would usually manage mentally. But I feel so fragile after the appointment that I have no strength whatsoever to stand up to the pain on my own.

The appointment was going fine till about halfway through, when I mentioned that the neck pressure symptoms seem to have changed. Rather than the usual screwdriver-in-the-eye sensation, for the past few days, I've been getting a tight band of pain across my forehead.

The therapist asked what I thought that might represent; I couldn't answer, and she asked if perhaps it might be someone's hand on my head. I suddenly went all hot and shakey and started to cry. I said that it hadn't occurred to me, but based on how I felt at hearing her say that, I guess the answer is yes.

Then I totally went to pieces. I was having terrible flashbacks right there, of my father physically restraining me by holding my head down against the pillow. I don't think I can adequately describe the horror of it. It was visceral, I couldn't speak, I was in floods of tears and all I wanted was to get up and run away. In that moment I hated the therapist for taking me to that point.

Most of the rest of the appointment was me just sitting there shaking and crying. She said that when you're being abused, often the brain redirects attention to a different part of the body, so you're not aware of what's really happening.

I guess that must be it; I've never had any memories of being held like that before (it was always being pushed down by the chest), but the severity of my own reaction leaves me in no doubt of the veracity of it. And it's not like she suggested the images or feelings that swept over me.

And although I've spent all afternoon medicating the feelings, at least I'm not actually having to feel them.

When the appointment finally came to an end, it just slipped out: 'Thank God, I've been wanting to run away for the past half an hour'. I felt really rude afterwards - she's trying to help me after all - but I can't tell you the effort it took to stay in that goddam room. She said I did really well to stay there (and I did apologise).

I'm terrified now about what's going to come up next; every time you think you've remembered everything, something else comes up.

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Thursday, 16 February 2012

I'm having a hideous night, with zero chance of getting any sleep.

The pain started to spike just as I was settling down for the night. Like so many times in the past, it went from zero to a hundred in no-seconds-flat. One minute I was fine, the next, I couldn't breathe for the pain.

It was both my shoulder and the neck pressure, and it was excruciating. I tried looking behind it and found that the blankness from earlier on had gone, but I couldn't really tell what was in its place.

I took 20mg top-up morphine; an hour later the pain was still rising, so I took another 20. Normally I would only take 10, but the pain was so bad, and the meds have been so ineffective today, that I knew that wouldn't be enough. Still, it did nothing. Then 40 minutes later my world exploded in terror.

I'd kept looking in on behind the pain, and I knew it was fear there, but I couldn't get any more than that, and the pain was so bad, I couldn't even begin to address it. I still couldn't even breathe.

Then suddenly I'm in the midst of a child's terror, the like of which most adults would be glad to have forgotten. There aren't really words for the depth of the fear that suddenly swept over me. As endless as the sadness was this morning, the fear was easily as bad. I was sobbing with terror, shaking, utterly consumed by it.

The child this time was slightly older again than the 'sad' one - there were more words, and a more developed interpretation of the situation. But still very very young: under two, I'm sure.

All that filled my head was 'monsters' and 'scared in the dark', 'mummy don't leave me', 'mummy help' - begging and pleading with her to come and save me. I could sense that small child lying in the dark, terrified, crying and crying for someone to come, and no-one ever coming. At one point, I sensed my mother having been there, and then leaving - not able to interpret her child's cry as one of sheer terror.

This 'panic attack' went on for what seemed like forever. I was powerless to stop it; I couldn't help the terrified child in me, because of the incredible pain my brain was creating for exactly that reason - to distract me from the feelings. It was awful. every time I tried to do anything about the feelings, the pain exploded just a little bit more.

Eventually, gradually, telling myself I was safe, 'I've got you', 'there are no monsters', etc, I managed to calm down, to calm that child down. When I finally had her convinced she was safe, the pain stopped.

Since then I've had a burst of anger - resolved through thumb sucking - and repeated waves of fear. I got up to get something to eat and had to constantly chant to myself that I was safe, just to go into the kitchen.

Right now (two hours after the initial terror), the pain is ramping up again. Which probably means more panic some time soon. And there's absolutely nothing I can do to stop it.

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Wednesday, 15 February 2012

It might sound weird, but I actually found myself feeling grateful to the pain today, because I never would've addressed any of this without it, because I didn't know it was there.

I know it affects every part of my life though, and it would be so nice to not have to go through life constantly riddled with misdirected anger and resentment.

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The pain, the 'baby' and me

So, how do I connect with this 'pre-speech baby' part of me that's behind the pain? The therapist and I talked about using touch, but what else?

Well, I'm finding that just stroking my own skin can be quite soothing, on the hand and wrist. The palm of my hand and the inside of my wrist (i.e. just below the pam) is particularly sensitive, and hence effective.

I also have a small teddy bear that my best friend gave me last year when she came to visit; it has very soft fur, and I find gently rubbing that around my face, especially the cheeks and lips, is comforting. Because of the softness of the fur, the teddy is more comforting than just my hand, so that tends to be the next step up in soothing that 'baby'. And I talk to 'her'; I find that constantly reassuring her that she's safe, is effective - 'You're OK, I've got you', that kind of thing. The kind of thing that no-one ever told me in my whole childhood.

The soothing and comforting is really the easy part, though - it's the anger that's the hardest to address. I spent quite a lot of time yesterday thinking about how a small baby might express anger. I wanted to kick and thrash and flail about like a toddler having a tantrum; I think it would work, but it would be just too painful, so that's no good. I could try screaming, but it doesn't feel like that would be very effective. It's always worked fairly well for venting my adult anger (or rather, the anger I feel that I now realise is actually rooted in the feelings of that tiny child), but it doesn't feel right for this.

I tried scratching at things, but that didn't help. I thought about 'stabbing' at something with my finger, but that didn't feel right either.I tried making 'baby screaming' noises - the sort of 'mewling' scream that babies do - it felt better than the last two, but not right. The only other thing I could think of that I did as a baby, was suck my thumb. That didn't seem likely, because you do it to comfort yourself, but I tried it anyway. And it worked! Bizarrely, agressively sucking my thumb seemed to serve to vent the anger, though I don't really understand why.

But all day yesterday, when the pain spiked and I sensed anger behind it, I sucked at my thumb, and each time it worked - it reduced the density of the pain, till it stopped all together. In fact, having been stuck in bed all afternoon in agony, with none of the medication working, as soon as I hit on the thumb sucking, I was able to get up. I followed the thumb sucking with soothing touch, when the anger had eased, and it actually left me feeling quite sleepy and relaxed. And not in pain.

Of course all of this is only any good when I'm at home on my own. It takes enormous concentration and a lot of time; it's no good when there are other people around, or when I'm having to concentrate on other things (e.g. walking!).

The reason I was stuck in bed at all was that I'd tried going into town for a couple of things; I knew when I did it that the pain was likely to flare badly, but I didn't want to be a prisoner to the pain, so I decided to do it anyway. I had to queue for about 10 minutes in the first shop, and nearly ended up collapsing on the floor. There followed over an hour stuck in a nearby coffee shop, waiting for the pills to go down enough to move. None of the mental stuff was of any use in these circumstances; I couldn't concentrate enough with people around, unable to lie down or even sit really comfortably. So it's only any good at home, for now at least.

Today, I tried going out to Tesco to get the rest of the stuff I couldn't get yesterday. Once again, it felt like things were going to flare up, but I had to go. As expected, it was a bad trip; I got everything and made it home, but it was a close call, and I was then stuck for several hours. What was behind the pain this time was different though.

Yesterday, it had been anger - an enormous, inexpressible, mute anger. Today there was just sadness and loneliness. The depth of the sadness shocked me though - it was just this unfathomable, bottomless sadness.It felt like it went on forever. Interestingly, the 'me' that was feeling this sadness was slightly older; there was language now - not big or complex, but words nontheless. And the really heart-wrenchingly sad thing was that this 'me' - slightly older, but still unmistakeably a baby - has given up on being held or comforted or loved. That was what struck me the most - the sense of defeat. That there was no point hoping for someone to come, because they never would. And she actually doesn't believe that it's real - that there's suddenly someone there who does care.

Every time I tried to 'comfort' this version of myself, I broke down. That awful sadness just hurt so so much, I couldn't bear it. I couldn't bear it - as an adult; how was a baby supposed to deal with it? I spent most of the morning in a cycle of the pain spiking, looking 'behind' it and finding this sadness, being overwhelmed by it and crying my heart out, then calming down for a bit, then the whole thing starting all over again. I couldn't stay with those feeings for very long, because they were just too enormous and too painful. So painful, in fact that later on, after the Tesco trip, when the pain started spiking again and I tried to look 'behind' it and see what was going on, there was nothing. It was blank, completely blank and empty, like everything had shut down.

Initially I thought it was that the 'baby' had shut down, because it was all so painful, but then I wondered if actually it was 'me'. If the adult me just couldn't bear to feel that sadness any more, because it hurt too much, and so I was stopping myself even feeling it.

That sort of thing has happened before, in therapy-type situations. I'll be dealing with incredibly intense feelings and then my mind clearly decides it's all just too much, and it switches everything off. It's quite scary, because you go from being awash with emotions, to feeling competely numb. This is different, because I'm feeling normal emotions just fine, but that well-spring of emotions behind the pain is blank. I'm going to have to talk to the therapist about what it means, and what I should do next.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Parasitic psychological pain

Over the past few weeks, my conviction that the pain is psychological has been utterly cemented. I now have absolutely no doubt that it is.

That certainty comes from the way the pain has been responding to the enormous amount of psychological work I've been doing (It's pretty much my full-time job now).

I've had a number of good pain days as a direct consequence of psychological revelations, or in response to things I've tried, like mantras or affirmations.

It's obviously a good thing that I now know this, and it means I'm doing entirely the right thing concentrating on therapy. But it gives me an idea of how hard it's going to be to rid myself of the pain (and the therapist told me today she doesn't think it will ever stop, which really upset me, but I'm choosing not to accept or believe that).

I'm already finding this process incredibly hard. It's the shift from a good day, back to a bad one that undoes me.

When you get a good day, you have to commit to it, or you just 'think' yourself into pain. But with 'committing' to the day - getting on and doing things, trying to enjoy the respite - comes the inevitable hope-slash-expectation that things are going to stay better. Then when they don't - when the next day is crap again - you crash again. And the disappointment hits you harder each time.

Yesterday it was so bad, I was on the verge of quitting therapy. It would be so much less distressing to go back to pain-every-day, then to have to cope with this constant hope-disappointment-hope-disappointment cycle. I desperately want the pain to stop, but this mid-way point is unbearable.

Luckily, so far I've always managed to pick myself back up again after the disappointments, but I don't know how long I'll be able to do that.

The other development in the field of pain-as-physical-manifestation-of-emotional-pain, is that I'm increasingly seeing the pain as something separate to myself, something almost parasitic in nature.

This is because of the way I've watched it shift, over and over. Every time I start to get a handle on the pain, it starts to fight back. It's like it knows I'm trying to oust it, and it wants to protect itself, and it does that by attacking me.

Looking back, I can see endless examples of this before I was aware of it. Like the way the pain has always ramped up to match the amount of medication I take, however much that is. Or the way it got worse again as soon as I started doing more, like swimming and so on, a couple of years ago.

What I need to do, is to make the pain redundant by addressing the issues that it's trying to mask from me (see the previous post). I have to make it so that my brain doesn't have any need to hide from scary, awful, difficult feelings, because I've already dealt with them head-on.

That's my 'job' at the moment, and it's taking every once of concentration and energy I can find.

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My most excellent therapist and I have worked out that the cause of my pain - the emotional trauma that my brain is using the physical pain to distract me from - dates right back to the neglect and abandonment I suffered as a baby. Whilst it's good to know this, it's really not good news. It means that in trying to fix it, I'm 'dealing' with a 'baby' who hasn't even learned to recognise speech yet.

The idea with this kind of therapy is you work out where the problem stems from - what period and experience in your life - then you try to reddress the balance. If the problem is lack of love, you give love, if it's not listening, you listen. But you're talking and listening to the 'you' of whatever age you were then.

When I did all this over the sexual abuse, I was dealing with a 'me' aged between four and eight (the age I was when he abused me). But my mother's neglect and abandonment began from the minute I was born.

I know I was a breech baby, so I'm guessing it was a difficult labour; I know my dad was violently jealous of the attention my prescence took away from him; I know my grandparents shunned my parents because I was due 10 months after they were married - my gran didn't believe I'd been conceived in wedlock (which my mother denies, although she told me over and over throughout my childhood that I was an accident, which always made me feel like crap); I know my mother was young by today's standards (21) and had no experience of babies, being an only child; I know she didn't breast feed me (though whether that was out of choice, or in response to advice, I don't know); I know my father had already narrowly avoided jail for violent crime leading up to the wedding and she was probably scared of him; I know that parenting advice at the time told new mothers not to pick babies up when they cried, but to let them sort themselves out. I suspect, but don't know, that my mother suffered post natal depression. All of this together conspired to create a mother who didn't / couldn't bond with her baby.

She didn't pick me up, she didn't cuddle me. She changed my nappy and she fed and bathed me; that's it. She made no emotional connection whatsoever; she did nothing to make me feel safe or secure or loved. She didn't play with, she didn't sit with me- she just put me in my pram and left me there.

Once, she left me in the pram at my father's work (a car exhaust place), where he was supposed to be watching me. I grappled for nearly 40 years with a horrifying memory of being left alone and terrified underground, near a twisting spiral entryway, with a dark figure looming over me. I finally remembered a year or so ago what that was - the underground workshop where my father was. I don't know who the dark figure was, I don't think it matters. What matters is I was left there in terror, crying hysterically, when one or other of my parents should have been looking after me.

It's all this stuff that I have to deal with, if I ever want to be free of the pain. Somehow, I have to make that less-than-a-year-old baby inside of me feel safe and secure and loved. But that baby doesn't understand language, she only senses intent, senses what the other person feels towards her.

The therapist has recommended touch - that's how you might make a baby feel safe, stroke it's cheek or hand. The best I can do is to stroke my own hand or cheek, but I can't cuddle myself the way I would a baby; I can't hold her close so she can feel my heartbeat and feel safe. The therapist also suggested a pet that's more happy to be stroked than the chins. But I'd have to move house for that - turns out my landlord gave me permission for the chins when pets aren't actually allowed in the building - and I don't want to do that.

I'm finding music helpful - I think that's why I'm suddenly so obsessed with it. But somehow I have to find a way to allow a pre-speech baby to express the fury she feels at being abandoned, and to replace the attention, love and security that same pre-speech baby never received as a child, and is desperately seeking. Shit.

Can you imagine the conversation where I tell my mother I don't want to see her? It goes something like this:
Remember how you thought you could avoid culpability over the sexual abuse, by the fact that you weren't the actual abuser? Conveniently overlooking the fact that you didn't protect me.

Well, this is all on you. Good luck trying to wriggle your way out of this one.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

It's been a really bad 24hours.

After a day yesterday of good pain levels, being able to control things through mantras etc, it all turned to shit around midnight.

I still don't know why, but the pain just exploded. For no apparent reason, it went from totally bearable to I-want-to-die in the space of about five minutes.

I hadn't taken any top up pills, because I hadn't needed them at the usual 10 / 11 o'clock. But that meant that when the pain exploded, I was scrabbling to catch up. I always find the top-ups are less effective at night, and when you combine that with pain going ballistic in a scarily short time, it's a disaster. And it was.

I tried all the mantras that'd been working so well all day, but they were useless. I had to take 15mg at midnight, then another 20mg only half an hour later, because it had got significantly worse, and was still rising. Even that didn't do a lot, but at least I managed to fall asleep.

Unfortunately, things weren't much better when I got up this morning. I spent five hours fighting the pain, trying not to take pills, using all the mantras from yesterday, plus trying out new ones. They touched it, but little else. Then when it got so bad I nearly collapsed answering the door, I had to give in.

That brought it down a bit but didn't stop it. I carried on trying with the mantras, but still I couldn't find one that really worked. I took another 10mg top-up at 7pm (on top of doubling the slow-release all day) and still nothing. Then about 8, I suddenly seemed to hit on the right mantra.

The pain didn't exactly stop, but it sort of reduced in significance. Like it no longer took up all of my attention, or like it was the same strength and size as before, but the proportion of my consciousness that it represented had reduced. I can't explain it any better than that.

I don't feel the need to take top-up pills tonight, but I daren't risk a repeat of last night, so I'll have to.
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I've never really been much of a radiohead, but I'm finding music is massively important at the moment.

I've found several new bands, very very different to my normal taste, and I just can't stop listening.

Normally, I need visual as well as auditory stimulation in order to enjoy it: if I'm just listening to music, I get bored because there's nothing to see. So I usually only have music on when I drive.

But at the moment, the auditory stimulation is enough: for the first time ever, I can sit and listen to music without needing something to look at. And I'm loving my new bands.

I do remember the last time I was in therapy about the abuse I went through a phase of music different to my usual. And I listened to it a lot. But I don't remember feeling so connected to the music, feeling it was so necessary.

At the moment it feels like the music is nourishing me. Maybe I need it to feed my soul. Or maybe that's just being overly hippy-chick...

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Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Swimming today. Only managed six lengths, which means I've lost all the progress I had made. But it's six lengths more than I managed last week, so let's focus on that angle.

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Sunday, 5 February 2012

Another really bad night, with pain going insane because of the stuff going on in my head. Fortunately, this time, I seem to have worked it through, so the pain has gone down again, but I'm left wide awake, feeling very unsettled and very fed up.

It had been a surprisingly good day; the intensive therapy work I'd been doing, coupled with Friday's appointment, was paying off, and I'd gone from terrible pain levels and enormous amounts of morphine yesterday, to managing the pain mentally and just taking a couple of extra slow-release pills today.

All unsuspecting, I went to bed, listening to a favourite DVD as usual. Then suddenly I started having a real problem; stuff on the DVD - something I've watched a hundred times before - was triggering frighteningly vivid memories of my dad. I had to turn it off, but by then it was too late, and I had no choice but to get into yet another horribly heavy session of trying to analyse and unpick those memories.

And to cap it all, the pain, which for 12 hours had been bearable, just exploded. That told me what was going on was important, but last time it flared that way,it lasted for days and there aren't words for how bad it was. I really didn't want to have to go through that again. But that's the thing with all this - you have no choice. Your only option is to go forward, through whatever horrors your mind throws up this time.

And my stomach is suddenly going crazy too - another sign I'm on the right track, but very hard to cope with.

Eventually the pain did go down, suggesting I'd gotten to the bottom of things, at least for now. But it's left me wide awake and feeling very unsettled and unhappy. I don't know what to do with myself now.

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Friday, 3 February 2012

I figured things would get worse before they got better, but this is a nightmare. Pain levels are through the roof and I'm taking morphine like smarties, but nothing's helping.

Having barely calmed down at all since Tuesday night, it's gone crazy today, following therapy session.

I know it's a good thing, that it means I'm on the right track, that the stuff we're working on is really really important, and most probably is the at the root of the pain. But it's so incredibly hard to bear.

And I know I can't stop now, or all this effort, everything I've gone through so far, will be wasted.

But Jesus Christ...

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Wednesday, 1 February 2012


I don't want to go into detail about last night because it was too awful.

All I'll say is that I had a very distressing period of psychological symptoms and revelations, followed by possibly the worst pain flare up ever. The only reason I didn't call an ambulance was that I couldn't get to the door to let them in. And yes, I do think the psych episode caused the pain.

The pain has continued to be unbearable all day, and the morphine has been next to useless, just like last night. On top of that, I keep being overwhelmed by the feelings of 'wait till your father gets home'. The way I used to feel when I had done something wrong, or felt I had, as a child, and I was waiting for the punishment - or the tantrum.

It could be something as ridiculously minor and not in any way 'wrong' as asking my dad how much cheese to put on the lunch I was having to make him (god forbid he should take care of his own children - we had to care for him). It's a real example; he threw a massive fit, screaming at me for not wanting to make his food, not being willing to help and being utterly and completely stupid. Then he sulked, wouldn't talk to me and refused to eat anything at all; I was devastated.

Or it could be a 'bad' report card: full of A minuses instead of As, again true, and something that happened twice a year, every year. I'd be lying in bed, waiting for my dad to get home, hearing the back door go, the low hub of voices, rising as she told him what I'd done. The heavy tread as he walked across the lounge, the door opening and then the stairs. Creaking in time with my thudding heart. Will it be just yelling, or will there be hitting?

The feeling of knowing you've done something to precipitate this - that it's all your own fault - is one of being jittery and unsettled, constantly on edge, knowing something awful is coming but completely powerless to prevent it. You feel the harsh injustice and unfairness of knowing no sane person would blame you for that, and the terror of not knowing if he'll actually hit you, or if he'll start throwing things, or breaking glass by slamming doors. Or if he'll just bring you to tears with the evil things he says.

That's how I've been feeling for the past three days. It's scary and draining and truly horrible. No wonder I'm in constant agony.

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One of the worst nights I've ever had. And I've had some really bad nights.

It's a good job I'm in so much pain I can't get to the knives, and I'm nearly out of pills, or I'd finish it right now.

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